CakeSpy Note: Seeking sweetness in Ireland? Cake Gumshoe (and CakeSpy Buddy) Jenny of Purple House Dirt recently found a couple of sweet spots on the Emerald Isle--if you have a trip coming up, keep them in mind! Visit her site for more info about her trip.
When we were tooling around Ireland last month, I noticed old fashioned candy shops seemed to abound in these tiny towns up and down the country. Of the two I stopped in, I discovered later that one was a franchise of Victorian-style sweet shops, while the other was an old-fashioned original, but both stores were lined with rows and rows of sweet (and eye) candies.
In Kilkenny we wandered down a dark little alley called Butter Slip. (CakeSpy Note: OMG! BUTTER SLIP!)
We went up and down that way because of the name and because it was a shortcut between two main walking roads in Kilkenny. Along Butter Slip lives the Slip Sweet Shop, and it was filled with locals and tourists, the kids so young they had no teeth and the grannies so old they didn't either. The Slip Sweet Shop had a dazzling display of jelly sweets, crisps, and boiled candies, and I came away with acid drops, butter nuggets, rhubarb and custard candies, and cough drops, their black Dublin-made anise candy. I wish I'd spent more time admiring their selection of gummies - they sported confections called giant foam bananas, red eye skulls, milk gums, foam teddies, and munchy maggots. At least I snuck away with a giant sour apple cable that was coated in sugar and citric acid for a tart burn.
The next day we stopped in the seaside town of Dungarvan and I wandered into a shop called Mr. Simms Olde Sweet Shop. Their displays were even more impressive - it was everything I imagined a candy shoppe to be. Tall wooden shelves, wood floors, glass displays, scales and samples of everything. Along with the more modern options (every flavor of Cadbury chocolate you can imagine) they had a few candy flavors I hadn't seen in Kilkenny. I grabbed a big bag of bon bons, which turned out to be such a grab bag of tastes it was like Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans from Harry Potter. Some bites were great, while the others were grimace-inducing, tissue-grabbing nastiness. Along with the bon bons, I got a small bag of dandelion and burdock pips, which seems to be a common enough flavor in Ireland and the UK, though the only place I've seen it stateside is in cocktail bitters. They're sort of anise and grass flavored, not sticky sweet, and certainly unlike any candy I'd had before (except perhaps cough drops).
I'm definitely hooked, and I'll be buying more of these weird candies online when I run out of the supply I brought back with me!
Slip Sweet Shop
Tel:++353 (0)56 7790996
Mr Simms Old Sweet Shoppe Dungarvan
63 Main Street