The Four Tops couldn’t help themselves, and neither can we when we step inside these kaleidoscopic confectioneries. Treat a newly-pregnant friend to a chocolate-making class. Woo your honey with a four-tier luxury box of salted caramel bon bons. Feel the flame burning in your heart (and watch your New Year’s resolution go up in smoke) as you eat your way through the rainbow of gummy bears. Read on for our favorite spots that we’re totally sweet on.

kid-in-candy-storePhoto: Ayren Jackson-Cannady

This world-wide chain (with a convenient online store) bills itself as “the” place to stock up on “classic candy, whimsically giant goodies, and rare retro favorites”—and they’ve recently expanded their offerings to include clothing, sleepwear, home goods, and accessories. If you want your new college freshman to make fast friends at his dorm, ship him one of their one pound Reese’s peanut butter cups (because, yes). Keep a 90-day supply of Chupa Chups in your glove compartment. Or, order the Star Wars Pez Dispenser Gift Set: this is the candy you’ve been looking for.

6800 Oxon Hill Rd. (National Harbor, Md)

714 7th St., NW (Chinatown)

chocolate-moose-dcPhoto: Chocolate Moose

Chocolate Moose
Sisters Barbara and Marcia Levi have owned Chocolate Moose in Northwest D.C. since 1978. As the name suggests, their confection focus is chocolate—but the shop’s gift selection would bring joy to most any child, new baby, Valentine, or just-because recipient. Choose from decadent Leonidas Belgian chocolates and handcrafted art and jewelry to a giant tray of assorted chocolates and tacky toys. And you know you need a hotdog stapler.

1743 L St., NW

CapitalCandyJar-44Photo: Capital Candy Jar

The Capital Candy Jar
Founder Dave Burton got his start selling his mother’s homemade lollipops to friends at school.  Thirty years later, all of the company’s candy is made by hand in small batches in a kitchen mere blocks from the Capitol. Their artisanal s’mores kit includes freshly baked graham crackers from Ruby Scoops, a giant dark chocolate bar from Undone Chocolate, and two huge marshmallows made in-house (one vanilla bean, one salted caramel). Other must-tries include their generous slabs of almond toffee bark and two-pack chocolate-covered Oreos—one to share!  Or not.

The Capital Candy Jar sells its products at over 20 stores throughout the DMV. Check out their website for the location nearest you.

sugar cube sweetsPhoto: Jennifer D. via Yelp

Sugar Cube Sweets
Sisters Kimberly and Alyssa Theodore have sold local fudge and truffles, nostalgic candy, and best-of items from around the country since 2006. They also have an extensive array of colorful candies (including licorice twists, Milkies, jelly beans, gumballs, rock candy, and candy-covered chocolate almonds) perfect for an eye-popping candy buffet. The shop might be best known for their classes and parties: come learn how to make the perfect chocolate covered cherry cake ball, or choose from one of several party packages to send tiny guests home on a stratospheric sugar high. Don’t blame us if you get kicked out of the neighborhood carpool.

1218 King St. (Alexandria Va.)

999713_697580923601743_1598871992_nPhoto: Chocolate Chocolate

Chocolate Chocolate
Forget the presidential coffee mugs and magnets—send your visiting relatives home with a three-dimensional milk chocolate replica of the White House.  Chocolate Chocolate also boasts an array of artisanal chocolates (the brown butter molasses and rosemary caramel by Christopher Elbow make us drool), classic buttercreams, candy by the pound, and small batch house truffles.  Helping a friend plan her wedding? Personalize bon bon wedding favors with your own sticker at no extra charge!

1130 Connecticut Ave. (Farragut North)

chocotenangoPhoto: Chocotenango

Professional chef and co-owner Ismael Neggaz finds inspiration for his chocolates in international cuisines. Try the lemon poppyseed, rosemary fig, mint and green tea, or four-chili caramel bon bons. Chocotenango also sells large and small chocolate bars, chocolate lollipops, and three kinds of hot chocolate mix. Searching for a fun party idea, or just want to learn how to make your own treats? Let Chef Ismael know what you or your kids are interested in and he can help build a chocolate-making experience with you in his professional kitchen or in the comfort of your own home! You can find Chocotenango’s products at The Chocolate House, The Old Town Farmers Market in Alexandria, and the Bethesda Central Farm Market.

2619 Evarts St., NE
Hours for kitchen are by appointment.

Did we miss your favorite candy shop? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

— Katie Brown