At the beginning of this year, the kids took my parents to Lake Tahoe for their 50th wedding anniversary.
Oh, we’re good people. The best, really. And after sledding one day with Junior, me and the Mrs. went walking around, looking for something to do in the 12 degree winter wonderland. Randomly, we stumbled into this waterfront indoor mini mall in Tahoe City, and I flashed back to being there as a kid-like…25 years ago. And my candy radar starting pulsing, telling me there was a candy store upstairs. I wasn’t wrong.
A ha! There it was. From the minute you walk in, you can see that there’s a lot of stuff going on.
your horribly photographed yet requisite rack of bulk gummies, sours, etc. Lollies too.
Ah, but they’re also going old school.
Real old school.
But not at the expense of the new school. Nah, that’s all here too.
4 flavors of Big League Chew? PUT ME IN, COACH.
Whew! I was out of bacon frosting.
I’m still trying to imagine what these really taste like.
Crazy custom chocolates and truffles? Check.
A whole SECTION of Hawaiian centric chocolates? NOW YOU’RE GOING TOO FAR!
(record scratch) Ummm…..WHAT THE HELL IS THIS IS AND WHY IS THIS THE FIRST TIME I’VE SEEN IT? A Haribo Gingerbread House? Everything I thought I knew about Lake Tahoe started crumbling in on me from the outside, like Inception. 4th Level.
Just for that, I’ll ALMOST forgive them for only having Cubs, Yankees and Dodgers baseball themed Pez. Almost. I forgive, but homey don’t forget.
Almost forgot- they of course have ice cream too. Here’s junior manning up BIG TIME with the coldest flavor of ice cream (peppermint) in almost single digit weather. Kid is HARDCORE.
Suffice it to say, I was impressed. Tahoe City chocolates is a rare candy shop: not a chain, not a kitschy “old timey” candy shoppe, not crazy overpriced rich kids with poodles candy store, and not a Euro import candy hole in the wall that I tend to favor. This is all kinds of candy shops compressed into one awesome little spot. Check out AK, the owner, with one of his candy experts by his side:
These guys were plying me with all sorts of free samples, and they had no idea I wrote for this site. They do that with everyone. Quite obviously, they love candy, and we talked about it for a good ten minutes (until I realized that Mrs. Guru thought I had fallen and couldn’t get up, since she had been waiting for me by the car. Cold.) These guys are into it all, but their focus is on American made REAL candies. They’re very passionate about it, and it’s contagious. Like SARS mask contagious. In a good way.
We even came back the next day, and again, got the same kind of service from a woman who was working that day. All of this in the dead of winter with almost no customer base in town. These guys thrive on the warm months, when there’s regularly lines out the door for ice cream.
I bought a bunch of stuff based on their recommendations. After all, it’s n0t that easy for them to suggest items I’ve never tried. I’ve tried a lot. Just look at the shelf of my upper ass. It’s established.
First up is the “original creme center Owyhee Old Faithful Peanut Cluster”. Take a gander at this thing when opened:
If that doesn’t look real and old school, …well…it does. Stop being argumentative. It’s like a heaping hunk of chocolate peppered with peanuts. But wait-there’s more!
The creme center. Look, if Grandma made candy, this is how it would look. My Grandma literally never made me ANYTHING to eat. Swear. I have no idea how we didn’t starve when I’d be at her house. Overall, this tastes exactly how you think it would, which kind of makes it not my favorite thing. I generally don’t need additional creme anywhere, and certainly not in the middle of rich chocolate. However, my chocaholic friends insist I’m wrong and that this is nirvana. I was more impressed with this old classic:
What’s that, you say? Not familiar with a Munch Bar? No big deal. It’s just THE GREATEST CANDY BAR EVER MADE.
Talk about tasting like you think it should: things don’t GET more classic than this. Peanut brittle salt infused crunchy dream cake. That’s my unofficial name for it. This thing lasted all of 20 seconds once Matty got his grubby paws all over it. Truth is though, I had already eaten most of it. It’s a revelation: sweet, crunchy peanut love, heavy on the salt. All natural. What more do you WANT?
The Munch bar is now something I’ll look for, and it’s based of AK’s recommendation. That’s the ideal situation: an owner who’s been doing it for 32 years. He knows what’s up, and he knows and loves his candy. I can guarantee that I’ll be going to Tahoe City Chocolates every time I’m close from here on out: it’s too good not to, and I want to support these guys. I want you guys to support these guys! So once again with feeling, check out the sign:
If you’re in the Tahoe area, I don’t care what season it is, make a trip out to see AK and the gang. Good people, good candy, a lot of stuff out of the ordinary.