Sugarfina

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…Sugar-whipped pillow fluff marshmallows!
…A kaleidoscopic zoo of gummies!
…Voltaic sours!
…!!!

My neurotransmitters were spitting and spewing platinum sugar sparks. A latent sweet tooth began quivering with anticipation as I gazed upon the neat little plastic cubes lining the shelves in neat little stacks. The tidy restraint seemed to add to the allure. Cubes with licorice logs. Cubes with sherbet malts. Cubes with sugar-dusted moons and stars. Cubes with…

“Would you like to try some samples?” A woman in a robin’s egg blue bowtie approached bearing a tray of sweets. “Today we’re sampling gummy euros and mint chip caramels.”

I eagerly accepted (does anyone ever say no?), and had her root out a red currant coin as I popped the caramel in my mouth. Creamy mint dissolving into warm, butter-rich pool. Without pausing to savor, I tore into the coin, reveling in the teeth-bouncing chew.

Freshly sugared and wanting more, I roved the shelves.

Apple Pie—brown button-sized jellies infused with apple, nutmeg, and cinnamon and rolled in a crust of crunchy sugar.

Champagne Bears—blush colored gummy bears in flavors of brut and rosé.

Champagne Bubbles—teeny gumdrops covered in a fizz of white nonpareils; a physical onomatopoeia.

I paused at a cube filled with bright pink candies that looked like water-smoothed stones. Aphrodite Strawberries—a sugared strawberry covered in milk chocolate and a crisp sugar shell. This I’d never seen. This I had to have. But, oh! A cube of speckled gray stones—Dionysus Walnuts—suddenly beckoned from the shelf too. I held the two boxes, one in each hand, torn.

Sensing my struggle, the woman in the bowtie offered to get me samples of each. Not as fun as a surreptitious taste or three from the bulk bin, but a sample just the same.

When she reappeared it was with a small white ceramic tray bearing the two candies, each individually wrapped in cellophane. Delicate crunch of smooth sugar… slow melt of chocolate… burst of berry, syrup-dense and sweet. A bite of Dionysus’ walnut provided a rich and earthy counterbalance. Though both delicious, I ended up selecting Aphrodite’s more exotic offering—kumquat—which had somehow escaped my initial notice despite its speckled orange shell.

At the counter, I inquired about one of the treats that had intrigued me because of the faint revulsion I felt looking at it—salted licorice fish.

“Oh my goodness, people go crazy for the licorice. Do you want to try a sample?” She started heading to the back room, but turned around. “And did you see the cordials? I’ll grab you some to try too.”

It wasn’t a bulk bin-binge, or Willy Wonka running around knocking enormous gummy bears off of trees and twirling marshmallow mushrooms, but was I ever buzzzzzing on quite the sugar high.

*

Sugarfina has two San Francisco locations—272 Sutter Street near Union Square, and 1837 Union Street in Cow Hollow. In addition to individual small- and large-sized individual candy cubes, they offer cheeky giftsets and design-your-own bento boxes. If you’re not in a rush for your sugar rush, you can purchase candy through their online store.

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