“There is no life I know. To compare with pure imagination.” Willy Wonka
I think it’s well documented that I have a very sweet tooth and that in turn is leading to an ever-expanding waistline, so of course I’m counteracting this love of sugary treats but munching on lettuce leaves, turning down dinner and brunch invitations left, right and centre and have implemented a strict exercise regime…….What? Who wrote that nonsense? As if! Back in the real world, well as real as my expat bubble gets, I accepted an invite to visit the newest and most extraordinarily large candy store in the capital.
What do you get if you take crazy Willy Wonka style imagination and creativity, add in thousands of varieties of confectionary in a ginormous brightly coloured retail space with an oversized central multi-coloured lollipop tree? The answer is Candylicious, a magical candy shop that is guaranteed to thrill every sweet tooth, sugar craved adult and fuel children’s imaginations and memories (who doesn’t remember their favourite childhood sweets) with treats from around the world.
The teenager and I spent Easter Monday like kids in a sweet shop, quite literally we were kids in a sweet shop being treated to a tour of the Candylicious store in Yas Mall. Think of any type of candy, chocolate or sweet treat and Candylicious will have it, from handmade spun candy to the famous Garret flavoured popcorn from America, twenty-seven varieties of Jelly Belly beans to old-fashioned pick and mix, regional camel milk chocolate and other high-end gourmet treats, lollipops, nougat, M & M’s, Hershey’s and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups the list goes on and on, in fact there’s over 4,000 mouth-watering types of confectionary to choose from.
Our tour started at Spun Candy that originates from Covent Garden in London, where we were treated to a display by the resident candy confectioners who added natural flavours to 200 degree boiling sugar which they use to create small hard rock candy or lollipops. Once flavoured and coloured the pliable sugar mixture can be twisted, plaited and moulded into any shape and then cooled and packaged. The confectioners work in an open kitchen area in the corner of the store where jars of candy continuously travels around the counter Yo Sushi style.
The in-house handmade product range is both vegetarian and gluten-free and the candy can be personalised with bespoke natural flavours and colours for a special occasion, a brand, corporate event or as a one-off gift. Available in bags and pouches as well as jars all the packaging can be customised too, making it a truly original gift. The lollipops can also be made in any shape, size, colour and flavour and we were treated to a live lollipop making demonstration and got one each to take home in our goody bags.
As you make your way around the store you encounter the posh gourmet section that houses products from several countries including the local gold foiled wrapped dromedary goodies (excellent gifts) and a healthy option area that stocks sugar-free and low carb options. A large range of candy inspired merchandise is available, which I didn’t even know existed that includes all sorts of stationery items, home and travel accessories, toys, clothing, pyjamas and even backpacks, jewellery and handbags. A more familiar sight was the heavily branded vivid coloured American confectionary of M & M’s and associated merchandise, Reese’s Peanut Cups and a floor-to-ceiling array of Hershey’s chocolate goodies.
Next came a rainbow wall of gourmet flavoured Jelly Belly beans and the fabulous two-sided counter of pick ‘n mix goodies. We were all given cellophane bags to fill up to our hearts content so the teenager and I dived into old favourites of jelly sweets and then chocolate covered nuts and raisins, fudges and branded Celebration miniatures, yummy yummy in our tummies all followed by a quick stop off at the dentist on the way home.
Alongside all the multi-coloured package treats and well-known names is a selection of Artisan chocolate bars and a gift wrapping counter where anything from the store can be purchased and made into a personalised present, bucket or hamper for any occasion from baby shower to birthday. There was also, in keeping with the time of year, a selection of chocolate Easter Eggs and other related goodies.
The final counter is a Garrett Popcorn concession, a popular handcrafted traditional popcorn from Chicago that recipes have been passed down through three generations and is freshly made in store using old-fashioned copper kettles, without any fats or oils. The popcorn has a signature blend of kernels and a smell that has you salivating within a hundred yards of the store’s entrance. Garrett popcorn is a blend of puffy and light mushroom and delicate butterfly shaped kernels that come in a variety of sweet and savoury flavours including Caramel Crisp, CheeseCorn, Plain, Buttery and a special Chicago Mix which combines the sweet and savoury together CaramelCrisp and Cheesecorn together.
My favourite however were the speciality popcorn that combine Caramel Crisp with almonds, cashews or pecans, so irresistible and delicious and I have saved my quart tin for this weekend and a good movie, much to the teenagers disgust who was keen to crack it open immediately.
All in all, Candylicious offers a sweet journey through candy land for the whole family with lots of old childhood favourites from around the globe as well as handmade treats to try. This is most definitely not a healthy eating post but if you have a sweet tooth like myself, are planning a party or event, want some fancy popcorn for a movie night or just need a unique gift then Candylicious in Yas Mall is most definitely worth a visit. As if they didn’t treat us enough, the lovely people at Candylicious took us all to Rogo’s Rollercoaster restaurant (read about Rogo’s restaurant in my previous post here) for lunch, where I had a salad to counteract my over indulgence, albeit with goats cheese, so probably not that healthy either.
Location: Upper Floor, Yas Mall
Telephone: 02 565 0064
Spun Candy: www.spun-candy.ae
Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest: SpunCandyUAE Twitter: Spun_Candy_UAE
Garrett Popcorn Shops: www.garrettpopcorn.com
This is a sponsored post but all the views are my own. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2015. All rights reserved. Group photo used courtesy of CandyliciousUAE Instagram.