Skip to main content

Sugar Rush!

Oct 12, 2016 03:19PM ● Published by John Lehndorff

I’m someone who is well acquainted with the “munchies.” However, that condition didn’t just appear out the blue the day I smoked my first joint. I was born with the munchies; cannabis just made me better at it. Even in college, I knew that the munchies were a lot more nuanced than the ravenous hunger for junk food portrayed in so many films. 

I freely admit to mindlessly ingesting quantities of ice cream, fudge, and M&Ms during a sitting over the years. However, I’ve experienced elevated moments of culinary and sensory bliss much more often. The science now indicates what I always suspected: ingesting THC allows us to smell and taste more acutely, and that prompts our food lust. Whether we gravitate toward a sea-salted 70 percent dark chocolate goji truffle or a Laffy Taffy is a matter of personal taste and what’s available. Some say women like candy more than salt-centric men. I say candy love crosses all gender lines. 

Candy is easy to find. Sugar bliss is much harder to locate. For me, it is walking into a real candy store and being enveloped in a fudgy, creamy, nutty, fruity, sugary, buttery, guilt-infused aroma. The colors of the jelly beans, lollipops, salt water taffy, and confections from across the globe are positively psychedelic. Plus, you always find yourself surrounded by smiling, happy people. 

A whole lot of almond toffee, Colorado’s signature confection, gets made in Colorado, along with some unfortunate mining-themed rock candy and “nuggets.” The Centennial State is famous for candy, from the Golden-born Jolly Rancher to Durango’s Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. As Halloween commences the season of sugary holidays, we offer a shopping guide to some favorite independent, artisan chocolate shops, candy makers, and just plain quirky candy dispensaries in Colorado. 

{ 1 } Getting funky in the candy factory 

You can buy cherry lollipops, vanilla caramels, and ribbon candy from HAMMOND’S CANDIES at tons of shops and supermarkets, but then you miss the real fun. When you are in the right mood, the tour at the north Denver factory is magical. The free, 30-minute excursions involve some food science and lots of cool machinery that pulls, twists, and shapes sugar into some amazingly colorful shapes. You’ll be infused with sugar and led to the gift shop where you can restock your stash of jalapeño lime peanut brittle and Mitchell Sweets caramel marshmallows. Better yet, rent Hammond’s party room in the middle of the factory and celebrate surrounded by friends and thousands of pounds of candy. 

HAMMOND’S CANDIES // 5735 N. WASHINGTON ST., DENVER, CO 

303-333-5588 // WWW.HAMMONDSCANDIES.COM 

{ 2 } Somewhere over the Rain-Blo 

ASSORTED GOODS is so cool it really should charge admission. Folks wander into the tiny shop from Louisville’s nearby eateries and bars and get lost among the space toys, comic books, and dozens of jars filled with nostalgic candies from across the globe. At the store, one tween girl, debating the tartness of various nasty sweets, says to her friends, “Oh … my … gosh, Warheads are s-o-o-o-o sour. I ate the whole thing.” For the truly competitive, there is the World’s Most Sour Candy. “I don’t recommend it,” says co-owner James Kwan, a candy geek who has stocked up on Curly Wurly (a.k.a. the Marathon Bar), Chuckles, and Rain-Blo bubble gum. For more sophisticated tastes: excellent fudge and truffles from Roberta’s Chocolates in Denver. Avoid the Dill Pickle hard candy. It’s weird and not especially sour. Don’t ask how I know. 

ASSORTED GOODS // 706 FRONT ST., LOUISVILLE, CO 

303-526-8811 //WWW.ASSORTEDGOODS.COM

{ 3 } It’s all in the butter, baby 

Caramels are simple—just sugar, butter, and cream—but they are devilishly difficult to make without resorting to processed additives. Ellen Daehnick does it the right way at HELLIMAE’S in Wheat Ridge. These little deeply caramelized pillows of pleasure come in flavors from chai and vanilla to espresso and Whiskey Love Bomb with smoked salt. Until recently, you could only find Hellimae’s at other retailers, but now her shop is open along with Post Oak Hall, a take-out joint next door dishing eclectic Houstonite fare, including po’boys with chow chow, kolaches, and her sigh-worthy icebox-fresh banana pudding with dark caramel sauce. 

HELLIMAE’S // 6195 W. 44TH AVE., WHEAT RIDGE, CO 

303-474-4537 //WWW.SALTCARAMELS.COM 

{ 4 } Fudge that will get your goat 

It’s always fudge time at the UGLY GOAT MILK CO. in Keenesburg, populated by guinea fowl, geese, cows, two farmers, and lots of friendly goats. Most of the goat’s milk goes in the creamery’s award-winning chèvre, feta, ricotta, and soft-ripened Ugly Ash cheeses. However, some is always saved for owner Michael Amen’s family recipe for chocolate walnut fudge. No, it doesn’t taste or smell “goat-y.” The bestseller is a profoundly creamy confection that melts like a comforter on your taste buds. The fudge is available at Denver shops New World Cheese, Wine and Whey, and Il Porcellino Salumi, and at the farm—wear boots and visit the website for directions. 

UGLY GOAT MILK CO. // 16420 CAVANAUGH RD., KEENESBURG, CO 

303-870-3785 //WWW.UGLYGOATCO.COM 

{ 5} Good chocolate that’s good for you 

Can chocolates that are raw, organic, and free of gluten, dairy, refined sugar, soy, GMOs, and anything processed be genuinely tasty? If the candy is from RADIANTLY RAW CHOCOLATE, they will be, and not just “tasty for a healthy candy.” Raw cacao powder is combined with coconut oil and honey to make chocolate that barely hits your mouth before it melts into satisfying goodness. The dozens of varieties are flavored and filled with short lists of ingredients like the Salty Heart with organic vanilla and sea salt and the Elvis Style Cup with raw almond and cashew butters and banana. Note: these chocolates are only barely sweet by normal candy standards and need to be refrigerated. 

RADIANTLY RAW CHOCOLATE // 116 CANON AVE., MANITOU SPRINGS, CO; 3312 AUSTIN BLUFFS PKWY., COLORADO SPRINGS, CO 719-749-6176 // WWW.RADIANTLYRAWKITCHEN.COM 

{6} Here’s candy for The Shining 

There is a candy store almost every block in Estes Park, but consider stopping at SUNNY JIM’S HOMEMADE COUNTRY CANDIES on your way there to relive The Shining. The faded roadside attraction, operated by feisty flood survivor Ida Suppes, includes one room full of knickknacks and trinkets that time forgot, as well as ice cream, and another packed with seldom-seen, old-time candies such as black licorice caramels, cashew brittle, cherry cordials, horehound drops, and banana taffy. Perhaps you need some pecan divinity for the long drive up the steep, dark canyon to The Stanley? Get it here. 

SUNNY JIM’S HOMEMADE COUNTRY CANDIES 

5431 W. HIGHWAY 34, LOVELAND, CO // 970-667-5075 

{ 7 } A store like a box of chocolates 

If you find yourself heading toward Telluride to ski or the Black Canyon of the Gunnison to hike, be sure to also run the chocolate gauntlet at Montrose’s RUSSELL STOVER FACTORY OUTLET. The warehouse store has a Custom Build-A-Box counter that allows you to choose from dozens of pieces, so there are no duds in your collection. The real reason to visit is that this is the final destination for seasonal candy that never fills someone’s Easter basket or Christmas stocking. Especially sad are the aisles of heart-shaped chocolate boxes, but they are a real bargain. The 48-ounce Assorted Bloopers box of less-than-perfect chocolates is right out of Forrest Gump. It doesn’t come with a flavor map. 

RUSSELL STOVER FACTORY OUTLET // 2185 STOVER AVE., MONTROSE, CO // 970-249-6681 // WWW.RUSSELLSTOVER.COM 

Lifestyle Edible Critic Candy
  • Medical Marijuana Awareness Day

    10/23/2017
    01:00PM — 09:00PM

    Central Florida NORML is proud to co-host Medical Marijuana Awareness Days in the month of Octobe...


  • Canna Law and Business Expo

    10/26/2017
    07:00AM — 06:00PM

    Last year we created the first of its kind Cannabis Law, Accounting & Business Conference. The re...


  • Medical Marijuana Awareness Day

    10/26/2017
    01:00PM — 09:00PM

    Central Florida NORML is proud to co-host Medical Marijuana Awareness Days in the month of Octobe...


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

Click on the image below to flip through the pages of our current issue of the Denver/Boulder edition in full screen!
Click on the image below to flip through the pages of our current issue of the SoCO edition in full screen!