After frequenting Preston's Candy as a loyal customer for over 15 years, Irene Preston was given the opportunity to take over the business in 1997 and delve into the candy business. Although not related to the Preston family, Irene brought a deep commitment to preserving original recipes and techniques, while bringing her own inspirations to the table, such as fruit-infused creations. Artisan confectioners follow the original recipes, and craft candies on workhorse antique equipment. Their sweets have even wooed international taste buds, winning the Grand Champion Medallion of the International Truffle Competition three years in a row.
In addition to chocolates, the confectioners craft traditional favorites, such as peanut brittle, homemade Rocky Road chocolate with artisanal marshmallows and fresh walnuts, peppermint bark, and chocolate-covered honeycomb stolen from snoozing bees. In addition to filling their own candy shop and kitchen, the confections fill the digital shelves of their online store.
Named for the favorite opera of master confectioner and professional musician Anthony Basques Sr., Aida Opera Candies has conducted glorious confectionary cadenzas that crescendo in mouths since 1947. Using hand-crafted family recipes to compose their edible symphonies, Aida sets the stage for romance with an assortment of dreamy, decadent Valentine treats. A half-pound of Dutch Valentine’s thin mints ($7), decked out in pink, white, and red wrapping, sends a sweet, breath-freshening message to a sweetie, and half-pound portions of conversation hearts ($4) prevent stammering tongues from having to recite clumsy pig Latin poetry. The palatable pleasures of adorably wrapped milk-chocolate presents ($7) and Grande Marnier truffles ($15.50) help loved ones forget about missed anniversaries, missed birthdays, and misfired arrows that puncture family portraits.
The Burlingame Museum of PEZ Memorabilia celebrates iconic candy packaging with its exhibit of PEZ dispensers, featuring the plastic disembodied heads of animals, cartoon characters, comic-book heroes, and more. With two tickets ($3 each), you and a friend can peruse recent additions to the exhibit, including wistfully philosophical Peanuts PEZ dispensers from 2000 and a Mary Poppins dispenser from the 1960s that has been appraised as practically perfect in every way. Other confection-spouting dispensers feature likenesses of Mickey Mouse, Batman, Santa Claus, and beloved comic-book super-heroine Betsy Ross. In addition to pint-sized PEZ packaging, the museum also houses the world’s largest PEZ-dispensing machine, standing nearly eight feet tall, weighing 85 pounds, and capable of storing numerous PEZ candies or UFO-related secrets.
A globally recognized sweet shop, Beard Papa's converts traditional desserts into decadent, fresh-baked, hand-labored lovables. Its all-natural cream puffs ($2.25 each, $11 for six, and $22 for a dozen) exhibit a complex, crispy outer choux pastry packed with mouth-melting, fluffy whipped-cream flavor derived from imported vanilla beans and hours of diligent daydreaming. Available in classic cream and hybrid chocolate, strawberry, espresso, or tea flavors, Beard Papa's cream puffs pluck and pair well with any warm beverage or apathetic frenemy. Outside the realm of spherical sweetness, the shop also puts out single-serving fondant au chocolate engorged with gooey Belgian chocolate ($2.95). Celebrate another year where the moon hasn't accidentally rear-ended the Earth with the cream puffs of Beard Papa's.
Sharona's Chocolate Shop counts both international and domestic sweet treats among its enticing inventory. Celebrate the season with chocolates in fall-themed designs, such as milk chocolate ganache in the shape of a pumpkin ($3) or an eyeball-shaped sweet ($3) boasting a 20/20 vision of peanut butter, strawberry preserves, caramelized rice puffs, and white chocolate. Chocoholics can binge on bulk orders of Sharona's treats, with toffee ($24), dark-chocolate sea-salt caramels ($30), and a pound of mixed offerings ($50) for marathon-masticating under the menacing moonlight.