Monday, January 20, 2014

Shane Confectionery #3 - Philadelphia, PA

 Shane Confectionery
- Philadelphia, PA

This is my last post on Shane Confectionery. (Until I go visit the Oh Sugar exhibit in Philadelphia.)

I have already reviewed 6 classic butter-cream chocolates, read those posts HERE and HERE, which were all made on site in Philadelphia using classic candy making equipment. Today I'll be reviewing this gourmet lollipop and showing you a few photos of the store itself. 

Shane Confectionery is a little candy shop that makes you feel as if you've gone back in time. Advertized as the oldest continuously-run candy store in America, it has been producing sweets for a little over a century! The current owners have done their best to recreate a candy eating experience worthy of the early 1900's, and they have done a splendid job. Looking around the store you can see that everything, from the decor, to the cash registers, is vintage.

The lighting in the shop is a little low, so photographs were a bit tricky without my tripod, but I still managed a few halfway decent shots of the vintage interior. (I didn't want to look like an obnoxious tourist and go crazy photographing the store...just an obnoxious foodie.)

One you enter the candy shop you can see tons of colorful sweets displayed in wooden trays and vintage glassware. It's a bit like walking into the candy store in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

I was walking down the narrow aisle when I noticed three really lovely lollipops sitting in some glass jars. (They are at the end of the aisle above and to the right.) The second I saw them I had to have one. Not just to eat, but to photograph! They were just so pretty, like little herbed disks of stained glass. There were three different flavors, sadly I can't remember what the other two were, but I picked this one with it's little dried pomegranate seeds.

Beautiful and fully functional, these vintage registers ring you up.
 Basil and Pomegranate

As you can see the packaging is quite minimal, it's a clear plastic bag closed off with a twist-tie and a sticker listing it's ingredients. Whoever packaged this knew what they are doing, this product doesn't need bright colors and fancy typography to lure customers in, these are little works of edible art.

Once opened, you can look at all the little herbs and freeze dried fruit up close.

Under my photo lights the candy started smelling like pomegranates and herbs, the scent was a bit perfume-y, but still appealing. This flavor combination might not be for everyone, some people might find the scent a little off putting, like a soap or a candle.

I could be wrong, but I don't believe this lollipop was made in house. Shane Confectionery makes a lot of their own chocolates and sweets, but they also sell candies created by other companies. Since the same lollipop appears on other websites, I am pretty sure that this isn't made by Shane, but that doesn't make it any less stunning.

You can see all these herbs and dried bits of fruit, but the flavoring is quite subtle. If you went by the flavor name alone, you might think that this combination is more for adults and foodies than most children, but I found the candy to taste sweet and generic like barley sugar.

As little bits of herbs and fruit emerge from the hardened sugar the flavoring gets a bit stronger, but not by much.

There are a few hazards and difficulties in eating this lollipop. The fruit still has it's seeds, so younger children can possibly choke, and the mix-ins can get stuck in your teeth. Also, due to the size, it was uncomfortable to fit the entire lollipop in my mouth but, after a few licks, it becomes a more mouth-friendly size. (That sounds so gross, but I couldn't figure out a better way to word it.)

I LOVE how this candy looks, but I am disappointed in it's taste. It's sweet and pleasant enough, but after a while the sweetness becomes cloying. I kind of got tired of it and had to take a break from it by putting it back in it's wrapper. I'm happy I bought this because I got some lovely photographs, but I wouldn't buy it again.

This candy shop has been around for a long time, and it has been featured on websites, television shows, and magazines. Check out this short video above to see some more of the store and it's owners.
© Maria Smith
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