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Aug 3, 2004 02:07 PM

Candyfreak - where to find obscure candy bars?

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I just got done reading Candyfreak by Steve Almond (which you can purchase at through the link at, and in so doing give a donation to chowhound). It's a great, funny, poignant book, and it's saddled me with an unrelenting obsession centered around obscure candy bars.

My question is, where can I find such regional rarities as the Clark Bar, the Valomilk, the Twin Bing, and the Idaho Spud? Will I have to order them? Or is there a store in the Bay Area that stocks this kind of stuff?

I got to try Look bar yesterday, made by the Annabelle Candy Co. of Hayward (makers of the Abba-Zabba and the Rocky Road). Fantastic! Molasses-y nougat enrobed with dark chocolate (not dark dark, but definitely not milk) and some peanut bits scattered throughout for texture. I got it in the drugstore/convenience store on Market between 1st and 2nd (between Stacey's books and McDonald's if I recall correctly).

Also having good luck finding rare candy at the D&S Market on the corner of Bush and Kearny (next to the dungeon). Got some inside-out Reese's peanut butter cups (great! PB on the outside, chocolate on the inside), grape and green apple flavored Mentos (grape tastes like a litter box, but green apple is excellent), York Peppermint Patty with truffled inside (not *those* kind of truffles, chowhounds!), and the new limited edition Nestle Crunch w/peanut butter bar (out of this world).

Another odd source is Fry's Electronics (Concord). They have a substantial candy aisle, and I managed to find a Cup o' Gold, made by an LA candy company I can't remember the name of right now. Big Reese's PB cup style chocolate cup with almond bits throughout the chcoolate and a center of gooey marshmallow-like stuff. And there was a hint of coconut in there, too. Really good.

Thanks for your help in finding more candy delicacies!


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  1. Fog City News at 455 Market Street carries a lot of candy bars, though they specialize in high-end and European ones. (E.g., it's a good place to get the English Cadbury bars rather than the ones made in the US.) Might be worth a look. They also carry a good selection of old-fashioned soda brands in glass bottles.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Morgan

      Fog City News doesn't carry the lower end of the candy scale. I tried them for Wine Gums (would love any tips on Bay Area vendors for these tasty treats), but alas they are pretty much strictly chocolate.

      I think Haig's Deli on Clement is worth a look. I know they carry some imported stuff like Violet Crumble that isn't always easy to find in the Bay Area.

      Sweet Dreams on College and The Candy Store on College might be other places to try.

      1. re: foodnut
        Melanie Wong

        Hey there, LTNS!

        I'm a Wine Gum fan too (big surprise) and have found them at the British food store down in San Carlos (maybe Belmont).

        1. re: Melanie Wong
          Zach Georgopoulos

          Never had wine gum, but have seen it at the British Grocery, on 15th just off of portrero (sort of in a dead-end parking lot -- a bit hard to spot).

          1. re: Zach Georgopoulos

            On the corner of Sutter and Taylor is the Australian Fair Store. They have some interesting Candy Bars from Australia. (They also have the delicious VEGEMITE)

            1. re: Zach Georgopoulos
              Melanie Wong

              Sorry, that was a typo from me. The candy is called Wine Gums. It's a gummy bear sort of confection, rather than chewing gum. the prices locally were a good deal less than I paid for them in NY. Thanks for the spotting!

          2. re: foodnut

            I'm bummed that they don't carry Red Hots any more! I have seen other low-end candy there in the past, but haven't looked for it lately.

        2. California Candy in Burlingame was featured on Food TV as a place where you can find candies of all types and candies not allow anywhere else.

          The have a website and is wonderful. One day I will have to learn how to link. But you will find it on a yahoo search. I have never been there because I do not to eat any more.

          On Lofton Ave in Burlingame.

          Good eating.

          2 Replies
          1. re: yimster

            California Candy does look like a good source for novelty candy (check novelty section), but the website doesn't offer much in the way of old-fashioned candy bars.

            Old Time Candy might be better, although I believe this is strictly mail-order.

            Look is a nice bar, thanks for the source. I also like Abbazabba and Big Hunk. Used to love the chocolate Charleston Chew (available at Bed Bath & Beyond -- guess that's the Beyond part), but the last one I had was more like sweet rubber than anything else...

            Now you have me craving candy!


            1. re: bernalgirl

              Thanks for your source too. But candy is not longer on my dinning menu. It is a shame I can only dream of it now.

          2. Someone told me you can get Valomilks at the Cracker Barrel restaurants, but of course there are no Cracker Barrels on the west coast that I know of. Anyway, I, too, read Candyfreak and am now obsessed with perusing every candy aisle I come across! Good luck with your endeavors, and please let us know if you find any good resources (also, I'm thinking about starting a candy swap in a few months, so that might be a good way to get some obscure candies from all over the nation).

            1. z
              Zach Georgopoulos

              Maybe at the St. Francis Creamery? I've only been once since the new ownership, right after it re-opened, but at that time they planned to turn the candy counter over to classic commercial candies and bars rather than continue making their own (one of the reasons I haven't bothered going back, natch).

              1. Powell's Sweet Shoppe in Windsor, Sonoma County has a good selection of candy - something for everyone! We like the Bull's Eyes and the organic chocolate bars. Surely, they have a website, too.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Cynthia

                  In Oakland the Grand Avenue Smoke Shop, located right next to the Grand Lake theater, stocks a good variety of obscure candy bars.

                  1. re: Cynthia

                    Here's a picture I took on Sunday of Powell's Memory Lane.