My favourite Niagara sweets
Tiffany Mayer’s 7 favourites from the Niagara region
While the Niagara region is known for its sweet peaches and ice wine, it also has no shortage of candy and chocolate shops to leave visitors with delicious memories. Tiffany Mayer, one of the region’s top food writers, shares the spots she frequents to satisfy her sweet tooth.
1. CHOCOLATES ETC
This St. Catharines shop is part of my usual rounds in the summer for gelato. When the mercury doesn’t soar as high, though, shelves are lined with some of the smoothest truffles I’ve ever over-indulged in. Seasonal moulded chocolate, liqueur-filled treats and solid chocolate bonbons round out the options.
2. THE KITCHEN/BREWSTER'S TAFFY
Brewster’s Taffy has been a fixture on the fair circuit throughout Southern Ontario since the 1940s. Third-generation taffy maker Jenn Wilkinson carries on the tradition of boiling sugar, then throwing and pulling the sweet concoction by hand to make bars and chews in her Ridgeway shop. It’s an incredible sight to see, and if I’m there when she does it, I make sure to snap up that still-warm candy. Eating it is almost otherworldly.
3. SCHMITTZ N GIGGLEZ
Just steps from The Kitchen is another dentist’s nightmare. Schmittz N Gigglez is an old-time candy shop on Ridgeway’s main drag that specializes in European sweets. There are plenty of British chocolate bars, but my inner German kid goes crazy for their remarkable selection of Haribo gummies. I also get my fill of nostalgia for the candy that kept me going as a child in the 80s: Big League Chew and those chalky Popeye’s Candy Sticks.
4. NIGH'S SWEET SHOP
For me, this place is synonymous with handmade chocolate in Niagara. The big brown farmhouse-turned-chocolate shop at the four-way stop in the burg of Snyder is a magical spot. The smell alone could send a person into a sugar coma. It’s wall-to-wall chocolate with seasonal moulds, an entire wall of bars (including one starring bacon), a bonbon counter that features Nigh’s famous Turkish delight, and shelves of creative confections like chocolate-covered potato chips or liquorice.
5. STRANGEWAYS SWEETS
This sweet startup doesn’t have a storefront but you can get handmade candy delivered right to your door. How’s that for candy-coated consolation? The salted juniper caramels are sublime and have made me see evergreens in a whole new light. The fermented marigold gummies are surprisingly delicate morsels. And the flagship Foraged Flavours collection is rounded out by decadent porcini ganache and wintergreen gummies that are bound to put fans on a first-name basis with their posties.
6. MARSHVILLE CHOCOLATES
Back in my corporate days, a box of Marshville Chocolates left on the filing cabinet was a sign of a higher-up happy with a job well done. They always disappeared quickly. The Marshville Chocolates store is a beacon of goodness at the bend in Highway 3 through Wainfleet—a Niagara institution with a selection of white, milk and dark chocolate.
7. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
When I’m strolling through Old Town in Niagara-on-the-Lake, I duck in here to escape the crowds and revel in the tiny shop’s chocolate aromatherapy. I’ve never seen a better selection of candy apples anywhere, but it’s the white chocolate peanut butter cups and trademark hedgehogs with their smooth centres that I can’t resist.
Tiffany Mayer is the author of Niagara Food: A Flavourful History of the Peninsula’s Bounty (History Press 2014). She blogs at eatingniagara.com.
100 Welland Ave., St. Catherines
The Kitchen/Brewster’s Taffy
294 Ridge Rd., Ridgeway
Schmittz N Gigglez
300 Ridge Road North, Fort Erie
Nigh’s Sweet Shop
3757 Netherby Rd., Stevensville
41950 Clarendon E., Wainfleet
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
70 Queen Street, Niagara on the Lake