The city of Palm Springs is unexpectedly small. I don’t know the population, but it is nestled between some mountains and, at least in November, falls into the shadow of the mountain every day around 3 PM. There is an inviting downtown shopping area along Palm Canyon Drive that is easily walked in an afternoon, even with stopping in a few stores. Though on a relatively small scale, it has a nice variety of shops and restaurants, which includes four candy stores. Three of these have significant chocolate on sale. They are:
Palm Springs Fudge and Chocolates,
Brandini Toffee, , and
The internet search had only shown me one unique chocolate shop, but that was enticement enough. My mother-in-law agreed to go with me. She wanted to take just a minute and look for a favorite live theater from years gone by. Unfortunately, it had shut down the year before, but right next to it’s vacant building was a pleasant man handing out samples of lightly candied popcorn. We accepted and immediately knew we needed to go into the shop, Brandini Toffee. (click on any photo to enlarge)
The shop displayed variations of toffee and two basic kinds of popcorn. Inside, we were offered a sample of what was being called chocolate popcorn. I was dubious, but the chocolate in the popcorn was both light and scrumptious. We bought a bag to have with our movie in the condo that night.
We also bought some chocolate and nut covered toffee, which was good. However, it is hard for me to rate toffee without bias, since several people in my family, my mother-in-law included, make excellent chocolate covered toffee and feed it to me fresh. The Brandini toffee compared well to all the good toffee in my life, but what would get me back, should I visit Palm Springs again, is the special popcorns.
Almost everyone knows about See’s, so that is all I will say other than I had fun practicing my Chinese when we dropped by. You can read about that over at Practice Speaking Chinese at the Chocolate Store on my blog funlearningchinese.com. And I will mention that See’s still has the marzipan I like best.
Palm Springs Fudge and Chocolates was the shop that was the overall winner of the day for several reasons. First of all, they had a huge variety of not only gourmet quality chocolates, but also many other kinds of fun chocolates, fudge, and ice cream. Many of the chocolates are made on site by the owner. The ones I tried were very pleasant to the palate. They weren’t as fancy looking as some specialty chocolates, but tended to be of more uniform shape, without fancy embellishments of colored tops or embossing. Instead, their appearances were more dictated by ingredients or process. This didn’t make them taste any less good.
The owner, Norah, was working the counter when we went in. It was fun to hear her story. She is from Bangledesh, coming over about 10 years ago without knowing how to speak English. She worked for her brother in the same shop until 2 years ago, when she bought it from him. Her English is very good now, and I found her distinct accent made it musical, but did not muddle my comprehension.
There was one very original candy in the fudge section that I tried. Made of sesame seeds, with a consistency similar to fudge, it was interesting and might have made a good trail snack, but was not my idea of a delicious candy. I’m not sorry I gave it a chance, though.
There were many other kinds of non-chocolate candies in this last shop, as well, but though they are colorful and fun to look at, it is chocolate I am always looking for! I heartily recommend all of these shops for your chocolate enjoyment should you get to visit Palm Springs.