candy jar

If there’s anyone out there who likes homemade candy more than I do, I would like to meet that person. I used to have a dream about opening a shop that sold nothing but confections made by my own two hands: chocolate-covered marshmallows, twisty peppermint sticks, naturally-flavored lollypops, sugary orange slices (god, I love those…), and chewy red licorice whips.

I even went so far as to go to take courses in candymaking, which was a lot of fun. But ultimately I decided that candy was too finicky, and that not only would few people buy it, but with my luck, I’d probably get picketed by the local dentists for making all that chewy stuff.

Plus scrubbing off all that hard caramel stuck on to pots and pans would drive me more than a little crazy.

candy in bags making candy

So I was interested in visiting Papabubble, in New York City. According to culiblog, the concept was started in hip Barcelona and became a cult favorite, then expanding to Tokyo, the Netherlands, and now New York City.

candy letters

It’s impossible to be unhappy around candy, especially homemade candy in a rainbow of swirling colors, and peeking into all the jars of colorful confections brought a big smile to my face. The intricate designs are whimsical and fun, but show a real talent, and the sour hard candies were puckery-tart—and delicious.

The candy is made throughout the day right in the store, and you can watch the candy makers pulling, twisting, turning, and tugging the warm sugar strains into hard candies and lollypops. It all made me a bit wistful that I’ve never fulfilled my dream (or my mother’s—to become her son, the dentist) but was happy to have tasted some of the wonderful candies, and know that someone is fulfilling my dream for me.

And I don’t have to clean up after it!

380 Broome Street
New York City
(212) 966-2599

Related Links:

Papabubble Video (Serious Eats)

Cult Candy Shop Introduces Itself to Little Italy (Grub Street)

Never miss a post!


  • Val
    October 14, 2008 4:11pm

    How do you feel about the circus peanut? Or candy corn?

  • October 14, 2008 4:20pm

    This is so great – I will have to go and check it out – this looks like a lot of fun! Oh and it was so nice to finally meet you on Sunday — I hope you’re enjoying your NY stay – the weather has been incredible!

  • Jake
    October 14, 2008 4:20pm


    I thought there was going to be a recipe for those little jewels at the top.

    Do you have a recipe for orange slices? I love them too.

  • October 14, 2008 4:22pm

    I bet dentists would chip in to help pay the rent of a candy shop to help grow their market!

    Hand made candy does seem to be growing in popularity (beyond chocolates) lately. At the Canadian Ethnic and Speciality Food show last week there was organic, local ingredient candy that was getting a lot of attention.

  • MJ in KS
    October 14, 2008 4:27pm

    Love those crunchy, chewy orange slices. At least you’d know there’s no melamine in the candy if it’s homemade. :-)

  • Susan
    October 14, 2008 4:42pm

    I’m a gum drop girl! I love’em and would love to learn to make them. And I love jelly beans and Charms jellies and Dots and Juju-bees. I love those Circus Peanuts too..and Candy Corn. Oh, my aching teeth! I’m only good at making divinity and fudge..the cooked and beaten I guess that’s a good thing..but I love kid candy best!

  • October 14, 2008 4:50pm

    Hi David, my name’s Sara. Now you’ve met me. I have an enormous sweet tooth, especially with these straight-sugar varieties….I am really feening for some now I’ve seen these pics!

  • October 14, 2008 4:56pm

    YUM! Gotta check that place out the next time I visit NYC. Sounds fun to watch candymaking. Not to fond of cleaning hard caramel off my pots either. Will stick to chocolate :-)

  • October 14, 2008 4:58pm

    My sis-in-law gave me candy from there a while back, and I completely forgot about visiting shortly after. Thanks for writing about it and jogging my memory!

  • October 14, 2008 5:35pm

    Watching people make sweets is truly magical, the hard rock with letters, numbers and pretty little pics never fails to amuse me. You’ve inspired me to visit our local “Sweet” which is along the same lines as Papabubble and take some photos too.

  • October 14, 2008 6:20pm

    Oh, thanks for the review! Might pick some up on my next trip to Barcelona!

  • October 14, 2008 8:50pm

    Oh my – I’m in love!

  • Steve
    October 14, 2008 8:58pm

    ‘It’s impossible to be unhappy around candy.’

    Then maybe some of that government stimulus should go into establishing more shops like this around the U.S. of A.

  • delphine
    October 15, 2008 2:28am

    ooohh I want to go. I love candy, indecently so for an “adult” (does 20 count as adult?). I always wished that the part in Willy Wonka where they first go to the factory was real. I also used to daydream about having a tree house in my backyard where at the top there were stairs that went way up to the sky to a magical land filled with candy. Yeah, my love for candy is a bit pathetic.

  • Tags
    October 15, 2008 6:16pm

    David, do you know anyone who still uses mastic to make Turkish Delight?

    I’d love to try the original recipe or at least some TD with authentic ingredients (like mastic.)

  • October 15, 2008 9:52pm

    I love the grapefruit-flavored fruit slices the best (like these), I always tell myself they are just the American version of pate de fruits :-)

  • Eileen
    October 16, 2008 8:33am

    I’m going to check if this shop has a web-site and will ship orders. When I was little and taken to a candy shop, I always chose the orange slices ;))

  • Momcat
    October 16, 2008 10:28am

    I must have those jars of arithmetic candy! My granddaughter is almost two and what better way to start teaching her math? Um, well, it’s a great excuse anyway. I’ve always been fascinated by the candy-making process, ever since I first saw them making salt-water taffy at the Texas state fair!

  • October 17, 2008 7:11pm

    That last pic looks like the teeth that the children (and adults, too, I imagine) lose after eating all of that candy.

  • Winslow
    October 18, 2008 10:50am

    I have always favored orange slices over any other candy–although Dots and Mike & Ikes are nice, too. My late grandmother had a recipe called Icebox Fruitcake that was hilarious — it was based on the Rice Krispies Treats method of construction, and instead of containing real fruit, it used stuff like chopped orange slices. I believe graham cracker crumbs were another key ingredient. It made a hefty loaf that weighed a ton. And of course lasted forever because nobody liked it but me. Thanks, Grandma!

  • tigerlille
    October 19, 2008 9:04pm

    Please? A recipe (with pectin, right?) for the orange slices!!!???!!

  • jessica
    April 9, 2009 11:20pm

    had the chance to go there last weekend… it was the highlight of our trip to NYC! so much fun to watch.. they let you taste every flavor, and if you get the chance to see them make the candy, they’ll pull a warm piece off for you to try! awesome! i want to take a candymaking class now!