For every kid and kid at heart, nothing tops the candy-coated rush you get when stepping into an old-fashioned candy store.
Dinstuhl’s is one of those rare companies that has the capacity to create thousands of custom-molded candies and still demand the quality that requires each piece to be hand-trimmed to perfection. A fourth generation, family-run business, Dinstuhl’s has been making confections of the highest caliber in Memphis, Tennessee, since 1902. Soft fudge wrapped in chocolate, sherbet-colored mints, and the most decadently dipped fruit merely scratch the candy-coated surface of Dinstuhl’s offerings. We can’t get enough of their Cashew Crunch and neither, it seems, can anyone else, since they make 6,500 pounds for the holidays. And it would seem a shame to be in Memphis and not get at least one Elvis souvenir. So why not grab a solid chocolate record or guitar on your way out?
5280 Pleasant View Rd.
“Candy making is like farming,” says Martha Vories, whose family has owned Muth’s Candies since 1921. When crafting homemade candies, the weather dictates what can be done right, and at Muth’s, making things the right way is top priority. The chocolates are hand-dipped, the wax paper hand-cut, the caramels are made specific for each handmade candy, and their famous caramel-covered marshmallow Modjeskas are made in small batches in well-loved copper pots. For those who like to know exactly what they’re getting in their box of chocolates, you can customize your selection, with each piece decorated with a mark indicating the flavor of the filling. “We’re perfectionists on quality control,” adds Martha. “We won’t sell it if it’s not perfect.”
630 E. Market St.
Aunt Sally’s Pralines
New Orleans, Louisiana
What list of Southern candy shops would be complete without mentioning at least one classic New Orleans praline company? While you can find the sugared confection on nearly every corner in New Orleans, Aunt Sally’s Pralines is not one to miss. Made fresh daily, Aunt Sally’s has plenty to choose from, including triple chocolate, bananas Foster, and café au lait varieties. Customers can watch the praline process at their new location on St. Charles Avenue. And no matter which store you visit, be sure to take advantage of their generous selection of samples before deciding what to take home.
810 Decatur St.
750 St. Charles Ave.
Susie’s South Forty Confections
When you walk into Susie’s South Forty Confections in Midland, Texas, it’s like stepping back in time. The shop is operated out of a converted warehouse where the candy is housed in antique cases, the youngest being 100 years old. Made the old-fashioned way, the fabulously chewy pralines, buttery-rich pecan toffee, and white chocolate-drenched Texas Trash are treats you must try. Susie’s confections are made without preservatives, with real butter, and lots of sugar. Because, according to Susie, “If you’re going to eat candy, you might as well eat the real thing as long as it’s real good.”
2101 W. Wadley St. Suite 1
Enter through the cherry-red double doors on Northside Drive, and you’ll find Nandy’s Candy, Jackson, Mississippi’s neighborhood candy store for more than 33 years. In addition to sugared apples, peppermint bark, and any number of chocolate-dunked treats, Nandy’s also sells English toffees, American truffles, and Southern divinity. And be sure to grab some of their homemade caramel sauce. It’s only available during the holiday season and makes for a deliciously sweet gift.
1220 E. Northside Dr.
Punta Clara Kitchen
Point Clear, Alabama
It truly is a family affair at Punta Clara Kitchen in Point Clear, Alabama. The store, which was opened in 1952 by Dorothy Pacey, originally began as a backyard hobby. Mrs. Dorothy would have patrons pay on the honor system or ring a bell for her to walk up from her house on Mobile Bay’s waterfront. Now they operate out of the family’s turn-of-the-century Victorian home, and while the business has certainly grown and they no longer have you ring a bell in the backyard, not much else has changed. Punta Clara’s goal is to make you feel like you’re at the family’s home, and they just happen to always have tasty homemade goodies on hand. Offering Southern classics such as pralines and divinity, Punta Clara also sells homemade preserves and jellies, depending on what’s in season and what the nearby farmers have to offer. So what’s Punta Clara’s secret to keeping a family business running smoothly for more than 60 years? Well, it doesn’t hurt to always have something sweet nearby.
17111 Scenic Hwy. 98
Big Top Candy Shop
Welcome to candy land. Owner Brandon Hodge’s circus-themed candy store in Austin, Texas, may have only opened in 2007, but it feels as though it’s a particularly decadent sideshow tent that got left behind from a centuries-old circus. Nostalgic posters and classic, often hard-to-find treats line the walls, with the old-fashioned soda counter being the store’s main attraction. Big Top’s soda jerks serve up everything from classic milkshakes to customer-requested concoctions. And with literally billions of possible combinations, the soda selection is as creative as you are. Clever combos are not limited to their soda fountain. We can also thank Big Top for propelling the chocolate-bacon sensation, with their house-made chocolate-covered bacon. Fun and flavorful, Big Top Candy Shop is truly a carnival of candy and confection.
1706 S. Congress