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Where to get your candy fix

Get peanut brittle, fudge, decorative chocolates and more at these local spots.
 
Ava Marie Handmade Chocolates (43 Grove St., Peterborough, 924-5993, avamariechocolates.com) offers a variety of decorative specialty chocolates that include truffles, turtles, caramels and more. Gift boxes are also available.
Candy Kingdom (235 Harvard St., Manchester, 641-8470, facebook.com/candykingdom5) offers 15 different flavors of homemade fudge, as well as several kinds of favorite indulgences that include assorted decorative chocolates, white, milk or dark chocolate-covered popcorn, peanut butter cups, chocolate-covered pretzels and more. Products can be purchased from inside the store, or special orders can be made by calling or by direct messaging the store on Facebook. 
The Chocolate Fanatic (76 Route 101A, Unit 5, Amherst, 672-7133, thechocolatefanatic.org) has dozens of treats that include truffles, barks, caramels and more. Popular items include the dark-chocolate-dipped Oreo cookies with peppermint chunks and peanut butter granola blocks. Products can be purchased through an online order.
The Chocolatier (27 Water St., Exeter, 772-5253, the-chocolatier.com) offers a variety of candies that include treats of the nutty, gummy and chocolatey varieties. Popular items include pecan turtles and a peppermint-flavored chocolate bark. Products can be purchased on the online store or by calling to order.
Chutters Candy Counter (43 Main St., Littleton, 444-5787; 165 Main St., Lincoln, 728-6144, chutters.com) is a candy-lover’s dream, offering more than 500 kinds of sweets, including fudges, gummy candies, jelly beans, homemade truffles and everything in between.
Dancing Lion Chocolate (917 Elm St., Manchester, 625-4043, dancinglion.us) makes its own chocolate bars and offers chocolate bonbons individually or packaged in gift boxes. Mayan-style drinking chocolate is also available.
The Fudge Folks (169 Governor Wentworth Highway, Mirror Lake, 569-2769) offers a call-to-order old-fashioned cocoa fudge available for purchase.
Granite State Candy Shoppe (832 Elm St., Manchester, 218-3885, and 13 Warren St., Concord, 225-2591, granitestatecandyshoppe.com) offers roasted nuts and 10-ounce bags of peanut and cashew brittle online and in its retail stores. You can also choose from a variety of gummy candies, fudges, maple sugar candies, gourmet chocolates and more.
Hutchinson’s Candy (10 Tinker Ave., Unit D, Londonderry, 926-3033, hutchinsonscandy.com) produces handmade peanut brittle as well as cranberry almond popcorn, chocolate-covered walnuts and more. They also make several types of fudge, with and without nuts. Products can be purchased online or at several area independent grocery stores, including Sully’s Superette in Allenstown and Goffstown, Farm and Flowers Market in Manchester, The Common Man General Store in Hooksett, and other stores in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts. Visit the website for a full list of vendors.
Kandy Kettle Kitchen (Concord, 244-6199, kandykettlekitchen.com) sells handmade peanut brittle in small batches and an almond buttercrunch recipe using milk chocolate and toffee. Fudges are available in several specialty flavors, including candy cane, divinity walnut, pistachio and more. Products can be purchased online or at Nature’s Country Store in Epsom, Beech Hill Farm in Hopkinton, Carter Hill Orchard in Concord, Hackleboro Orchards in Canterbury, and LaValley Farms in Hooksett.
Kellerhaus (259 Endicott St. North, Weirs Beach, 366-4466, kellerhaus.com) offers handmade candy canes and ribbon candy, large 3-D chocolates shapes in milk, dark and white chocolate and nonpareil snowmen. Regular nonpareils are made daily. Their best seller is a ‘favorites tray’ which includes an assortment of buttercrunch candies, turtles and clusters. The shop is 110 years old and it sells items online as well.
Kilwins (20 Congress St., Market Square, Portsmouth, 319-8842, kilwins.com) offers dozens of kinds of candies, including fudge, toffee, caramel, corns, brittles and more. Products can be purchased online or in the store.
La Cascade du Chocolat (264-7006, lacascadeduchocolat.com) offers truffles, gift baskets of decorative chocolates, homemade chocolate bars and more. You can find them at the Amherst Open Air Market, the Concord Winter Farmers’ Market and select local retailers. See website for details.
Mill Fudge Factory (2 Central St., Bristol, 744-0405, themillfudgefactory.com) offers dozens of classic and specialty fudges, available for purchase by the slice or several in a box. Special holiday sampler boxes can also be purchased. Popular flavors include Belgian chocolate, peanut butter and maple walnut.
Mountain View Fudge (18 Mulberry St., Claremont, 542-2051, facebook.com/flavoursofourregion) offers more than 30 varieties of fudge for purchase. Call directly or email iloveyourfudge@yahoo.com to place an order.
Must Have Fudge (130 G.H. Carter Drive, Danville, 382-7469, musthavefudge.com) offers homemade fudges that are sold at a variety of retail locations across New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Call or visit the website for a full list of vendors.
Nelson’s Candies (65 Main St., Wilton, 654-5030, nelsonscandieswilton.com) offers hand-pulled peanut brittle, milk chocolate turtles made with pecans and cashews, and a butter crunch toffee topped with crushed almonds. Other popular products include cordial cherries hand-dipped in chocolate, dark chocolate ginger puff candy and chocolate marzipan. Products can be purchased online or in the store.
Our Sister’s Nuts (Hudson, 897-5415, oursistersnuts.com) is a homestead business offering several kinds of nut-based candies, including cinnamon almonds and mixed nuts made in milk and dark chocolate and oatmeal cookies. Products can be special-ordered online or purchased at The Cozy Tea Cart (104 Route 13, Brookline, 249-9111, thecozyteacart.com).
Pearls Candy & Nuts (309 S. Broadway, No. 2, Salem, 893-9100, pearlscandynh.com) offers dozens of candies, including milk- and dark-chocolate-covered peanuts, as well as turtles, cashews, peanut brittle, and chocolate-covered mixed nuts, available for purchase either online or inside the retail store.
Sama Chocolatier (6 Lakewood Road, Windham, 781-789-7464, samachocolatier.com) offers several custom-made fudges and decorative chocolates for purchase online or by calling to order.
Sanborn’s Fine Candies (143 Plaistow Road, Plaistow, 382-5547, sanbornsfinecandies.com; 293 Lafayette Road, Hampton, 926-5061, sanbornscandies.com) offers cashew and walnut turtles, as well as almonds, pecans and other nuts dipped in milk, dark or white chocolate. Several kinds of homemade fudges and homemade sugar mints are also available. Products can either be special-ordered online or purchased inside the retail store.
Van Otis Chocolates (314 Elm St., Manchester, 627-1611, vanotischocolates.com) offers a variety of flavors of Swiss fudge, including milk, dark and sugar-free. Assorted chocolates are also available for purchase in a combo box. Other products include peanut brittle, caramelized almonds and other nuts, and candy-covered popcorn that comes in white chocolate, maple, caramel and other flavors.
 




Sweets of the Season
From candy canes to sugar mints

12/08/16
By Ryan Lessard news@hippopress.com



 From candy canes to sugar plums, certain candies and confections are indelibly linked to the holiday season. While most of those candies are mass-produced nowadays, some local candy shops still use small-scale craftsmanship and Old World recipes. 

 
Candy canes
Nicoletta Gullace, an associate professor of history at the University of New Hampshire, said candy canes were on the ground floor when Christmas traditions were starting to become commercialized in the Western world.
“That dates back to the late 19th century … to try and enhance family ceremony and also to sell products — things like Coca-Cola and Christmas cards,” Gullace said. “It was already part of Christmas traditions.”
The candy cane’s origin story is a subject of some controversy. One story tells of a late 17th-century choir master in Germany who developed sticks of sugar that heralded the candy cane as a way to keep kids quiet during church service, but Gullace said that tale may be apocryphal given how expensive sugar was at the time. 
There’s also some debate about the nature of the cane shape. Some believe the curved end is meant to signify a shepherd’s crook, calling to mind the shepherds who visited the baby Jesus in the nativity scene. Others think it’s meant to be a J for Jesus. 
Whatever its true origins, candy canes appear to have become widely popular sometime around 1900. 
Granite State Candy Assistant Manager Nick Polichronopoulos said they make their own candy canes, in the traditional flavor and in wintergreen. They also offer a candy cane dipped in chocolate. 
Mary Ellen Dutton, co-owner of Kellerhaus in Weirs Beach, said their hand-made candy canes are heftier than most.
“Like a real old-fashioned candy cane,” Dutton said.
 
An assortment of sweets
Sanborn’s Candies in Hampton also makes its own candy canes, but its specialties are sugar mints and nonpareils, according to owner Bob Cooper.
During the Christmas season, Cooper sells gift baskets that include all kinds of candies like truffles, peanut butter cups and candy canes, and customers can request a custom-built gift basket. He said their nonpareils are famous for their dark chocolate variety, and they’ve been using the same 53-percent-cocoa recipe for 50 years. 
Granite State Candy has an assortment of reindeer-shaped, root beer-flavored barley pops and Santa-shaped chocolates in multiple sizes.
“Another big thing for us too is the traditional hard candies,” Polichronopoulos said.
They have seasonal favorites like peach pillows, peanut butter puffs and chicken bones, which are candies encrusted with hard sugar and filled with creamy chocolate or peanut butter.
Sales tick up for treats like marzipan and petit fours every year around this time, but Granite State Candy doesn’t produce those in-house.
Kellerhaus makes nonpareil snowmen with jellybean eyes and nose and licorice smile and they also specialize in 3-D chocolate shapes like Christmas trees, a 1-foot-tall snowman and a 2-foot-tall Santa.
 
Ribbon candy
Polichronopoulos said they’re well-known for their super-thin ribbon candy, which has been a mainstay for decades. He said someone recently dug up an old 1960s-era Granite State Candy advertisement showing the ribbon candy.
“That’s a huge, popular item during this time of year,” Polichronopoulos said.
Dutton said they still make their ultra-thin ribbon candy using a crimper from 1886 and it comes in nine flavors.
“It’s as thin as a potato chip,” Dutton said.
 
Caramel corn
A sweet snack often associated with Christmas, mainly through gifts, is caramel corn. A century-old confection and caramel corn producer, Hutchinson’s in Londonderry makes large batches of caramel corn, and sales tend to pick up during the holiday season, according to co-owner Jim Beaumont. 
Beaumont said Hutchinson’s most popular caramel corn flavors are the original and maple but they’re also known for unique pairings such as dried cranberry and almonds.
“It’s kinda like the Cracker Jack with the nuts kind of thing. We just use cranberry instead,” Beaumont said.
 
Holiday history
Prior to the late 19th century, sugar was rare and expensive, which made candy rare and expensive. Only the landed aristocrats and wealthy industrialists were likely to carry a hard candy in their pocket. But Gullace said all that started to change when sugar production rapidly expanded in the Caribbean and new factories were able to start mass-producing candies by the early 20th century.
But by then, certain candies had already monopolized their role in Christmas tradition. 
Sugar plums, for example, had been a fairly common round hard candy but became woven into Christmas tradition through references in The Nutcracker ballet and the poem ’Twas the Night Before Christmas.
Gumdrops are another candy often associated with modern Christmas traditions but Gullace believes that may be due to their common use as a component of gingerbread houses.
The invention of miniature gingerbread houses owes its origin to the Brothers Grimm tale of Hansel and Gretel, two children who happen upon a house in the woods made of gingerbread and candy. 
“After that, confectioners started to make these and they became part of the Christmas tradition,” Gullace said. 





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