A tour of Central Mass candy shops (without the Oompa Loompas).
371 Worcester Road, Framingham
Sweet Boutique’s modest domain is brimming with an eclectic mix of candy sure to satisfy sweet teeth of all ages. A wall of kid-friendly confections was the first stop on my tour of this bountiful candy salon. Jawbreakers, Charleston Chews, Nerds, Pop Rocks and Pixie Sticks were just a sampling of Sweet Boutique’s scandalously sweet candy collection. These are the kinds of candies of which I was allowed to pick “just one” when my mother took me to Bob’s General Store every sweaty summer afternoon.
Sweet Boutique carries all of the familiar favorites found at any classic Cape Cod penny candy store — candy cigarettes, Dots (the candy choice that has you consume significantly more paper than sugar), saltwater taffy, and the oddest candy sensation yet, the Flying Saucer — a Styrofoam-like disk that melts in your mouth to reveal multicolored, crunchy balls. All of these sentimental treats can be found on the shelves of Sweet Boutique.
Along with all your candy favorites — from Swedish Fish to a luscious selection of truffles and fudge — there is also a whole section for making your own candy. Bags of melting-chocolate disks in milk, dark, white and even red (by Merckens, a renowned chocolate company) are stacked next to molds for chocolate Easter bunnies, ballet slippers and my personal selection, lollipop cowboy boots. Lollipop sticks, plastic and organza gift bags and candy cups are also available, making this chocolate activity corner the perfect place to shop when you’re looking for a creative gift idea or for a fun project to do with kids.
Quite popular with the older clientele are the Golightly hard candies. They come in every flavor from Lemon Drop to Pralines and Cream, so just grab a bag and take one of each… OK, maybe two of each… Alright, three of the ones you really, really like. Warm, friendly, informative service from the owners themselves is like the chocolate icing atop Sweet Boutiques’ chocolate- dipped Oreo cookies.
THE HEBERT CANDY MANSION
575 Hartford Turnpike (Route
First time guests of the Hebert Candy Mansion might feel more like they are visiting a Napa Valley winery than a candy store. The Hebert’s factory, which peeks out from the right of the Stone Tudor mansion, is the only hint to what lies beyond the brick pillars, manicured grounds and wide circular driveway.
However, there is no doubt about Hebert’s product of choice once inside the estate. I visited just before Easter and entire rooms were dedicated to baskets of all shapes and sizes brimming with chocolate bunnies and other sweet treats.
Although Hebert’s chocolates, even the dark variety, are too sweet for my taste, I love the Peppermint Patties, with their creamy mint center surrounded by a dense layer of dark chocolate. York has nothing on these puppies. Hebert’s is a lovely place tovisit not only for the confections,
but also for the ambiance. Candy is displayed on decorative wrought iron shelves and wooden chests, some of which were part of the original 1946 estate. Decorative wood molding, ornate light fixtures and faded period wallpaper give this candy store a distinctive atmosphere worth experiencing.
Patrons often work up quite an appetite shopping for all that candy, so for those who require a little sustenance before hitting the road, Hebert’s provides a make-yourown sundae bar. Choose from a generous spread of hot sauces and every candy imaginable, from traditional sprinkles to chocolate covered gummy bears.
Lounge at one of the tables on the indoor patio and get a first hand look at candy creation through the glass panels that look in on the Hebert’s factory – a wonderful ending to a perfectly sweet afternoon.
PRIFTI’S HOMEMADE CANDIES
106 Green Street, Worcester
Walking down Green Street, you can’t avoid the aroma of melting chocolate as generations of Priftis craft candies from tried and true recipes. Owner Nick Prifti learned his trade from his father, William, who opened Prifti’s Homemade Candies in 1965. This quaint mom-and-pop store gets to the heart of every true chocolate lovers cravings, dark chocolate.
Crisp and salty Dark Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Pretzels are a perfect treat, as is the Almond Buttercrunch, petite mellow and buttery squares with just a light dusting of almonds.
Prifti’s Wintergreen Patties are also a must-try, with their nice variation of flavor that make them a perfectly refreshing end to any meal. For those with a hankering for some serious chocolate, try Prifti’s Peanut Butter Patty. This weighty mound of peanut butter is swirled with chocolate and then coated with crushed peanuts, a major upgrade from your everyday Reese’s. Centrally located in the upand- coming Canal District, this Worcester tradition is sure to live on.