Candy—The New Cupcake?

As we all know, 2010 was the year of the fancy cupcake. But 2011 looks to be the year of candy!

My proof, and I do have it: Two new candy stores opened, and I’ve found the world’s first DIY nerds-and-pixie-stix martini.

First, the candy stores! One in Edina, one in south Minneapolis.

Candy Alley opened last spring at 48th and Chicago, and they specialize in old fashioned candy—like salt-water taffy, and Squirrel Nut Zippers, and Annabelle’s Big Hunk, and Nik-L-Nip little wax jars filled with mysterious sweet watery stuff, and Mallo-Cup candy bars. And Zotz! Walking in there is a trip in a way-back machine. For whatever reason, it was Zotz that really got me in a Proustian moment, remembering being trapped with my brother in the back seat of the Volvo on I-95. Aside from the candy, Candy Alley is just a very sweet old-fashioned neighborhood shop—the owner behind the counter, the walls painted white.

Meanwhile, Alix in Candyland is an over-the-top, ultra-decorated, theme-park-like extravaganza of a candy store in Edina on the corner of France and 54th street. You walk in and you suddenly realize the origin of the name—it’s a play on Alice in Wonderland, and there are Alice touches everywhere, white rabbits and funny perspective Mad Hatter images and the like. I tell you this because at first you will only see the billions of trillions of sugary things all around you! Gummy army men, gummy octopi, gummy sharks, gummy rulers, gummy gummy gummy all over the place. And every color of jellybean. Every color of M&M. Every candy you can think of, from Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip to imported Turkish Delight and British Maltesers. It’s definitely a jaw-dropping experience, and has a feeling of kids indulgence to it. If the under-ten-year-old in your life wins a spelling bee, this is where you go.

However, if the over-twenty-one-year-old in your life wins a spelling bee, head to the craziest thing to happen to sugary drinking since the invention of the alcoholic milkshake. The Candy Bartini at Cafeteria!

It happens every Thursday from 7 to 11 p.m., and it’s like a Bloody Mary bar, as imagined by your dentist, in the throes of the worst nightmare she ever had. You give them $8, they hand you a shaker of vodka, and then it’s candy candy candy, as much as your sweet-tooth can handle. Can you dissolve a handful of Nerds in vodka, decorate with Pixie-Stick dust, and garnish with a gummy worm? Oh yes you can!

Candy Alley
4813 Chicago Ave., Mpls., (612) 354-388

Alix in Candyland
5400 France Avenue S., Edina, (952) 915-1100

3001 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., (612) 877-7263