Stocked with more than 150 bins of sugary delicacies, Captain Candy services confection connoisseurs of every appetite. The variegated victuals include a multitude of gummies ($1.99 per 1/4-pound) and Jelly Belly jelly beans ($2.09 per 1/4-pound). Gnaw on gummy army men, brains, fried eggs, wild-caught swedish fish, freshly potted gummy lobsters, or eight different flavors of gummy bears. Candy Land expats include chocolate-covered almonds, peanuts, raisins, coffee beans, malt balls, and matzo balls, which are sure to mollify those who wish that they themselves were covered in chocolate. Licorice wheels,10 flavors of saltwater taffy, and three kinds of caramel help put the finishing touches on the candy kingdom.
Since 1976, Bart’s Homemade has been a destination for ice-cream lovers of all ages. The shop scoops rich, 16% butterfat ice creams in an array of fun flavors, including chocolate Heath bar, mint chip, and Three Geeks and a Red Head—coconut ice cream with coconut flakes, chocolate chunks, fudge brownie, and a raspberry swirl. Local fruit makes appearances in many seasonal flavors, such as ginger peach, featuring ginger from Old Friends Farm and peaches from Franklin County orchards. Bart’s team also whips up batches of healthier treats, including five varieties of sorbet and three hard-serve frozen yogurt flavors.
The talented roasters at Shelburne Falls Coffee—deemed Best of the Valley in 2009, 2010, and 2011 by Valley Advocate readers—percolate eight daily blends of organic, flavored, and single-origin coffees to entice tasters and nourish nostrils in a low-key, café environment. Guests can guzzle a regular cup of brewed coffee or add a splash of caramel-flavored milk, making sips as sweet and warming as a thank-you letter from a cupcake ($1.50–$3.21). After a hot cup of joe, cool off a piping-hot palate with the chai vanilla frozen blender—an enchanting swirl of homemade masala and exotic spices ($4.25). Acquire daily servings of fruits and breads without sneaking into the food pyramid with a fruit smoothie made of freshly squeezed orange juice ($4.50) and a bagel smeared with specialty olive or vegetable cream cheese ($3.30).
Recognized by major publications such as Newsweek and the Washington Post, Herrell's takes an artisanal approach to ice cream that ensures a palate-pleasing combination of quality and freshness. Using the same ice-cream-making formula and whistling the same ice-cream-making tune developed by Steve Herrell more than 30 years ago, Herrell's sweet savants create their chilly concoctions in-store on a daily basis. Pop in to peruse the enormous array of spoonable specialties ($1.75–$4.70), starting with the store's standard ice cream in daily flavors, which might include maple walnut, malted vanilla, and cinnamon nutmeg, plus a limited selection of non-dairy and no-sugar-added ice creams for customers with restricted diets. Orange and raspberry sherbet, or sorbets in flavors such as blueberry, cider, and mango appeal to the fruitly focused, and frozen yoguphiles can explore options such as citrus peach, espresso, and Dutch orange chocolate, an edible homage to the cocoa-dusted orange groves of Holland. Those who prefer never to let their mouth temperatures drop below boiling can also treat their taste buds to some cookie-dough pie ($2) or simply chug a 10-ounce jar of Herrell's scratch-made sundae-smothering hot fudge ($6.95).
Sweet teeth wave the sugary white flag of defeat at Richardson's Candy Kitchen, voted the Best Sweet Shop/Confectioner by the Valley Advocate in 2010. Like the tortoise, the dixie ($27.99/15 pieces) is inspired by the classic chocolate turtle, and its clandestine chocolate, nut, and caramel formula was recently lauded on Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Fudge-friendly boxes can be customized with three choices from ten types of dixie, such as the dark-almond, milk-pecan, and milk-rice-crispy varieties. The sugar-free sampler ($20.99/24 pieces) offers tongues a guiltless way to enjoy chocolaty sensations, sweetened with maltitol and the powdered dreams of care bears. Any quantity of candies can be purchased within Richardson's Candy Kitchen's inviting store.