York’s city centre is filled to the jar lid with candy men and women, chocolatiers and sweet shops. So whether you’re in need of a quarter of humbugs, a packet of Polos or something to dip in sherbet, here’s where to take your sweet tooth…
Found on Shambles, York’s very own “chocolate box street”, Sweet Treasures is crammed from top to bottom with jars of sweets and boxes of treats.
The building is 350 years old and, says owner John Plant, presumed to be a grocer’s around the time a lot of the shops on the street were butchers. He also has some spooky tales to tell of a ghostly child’s footsteps discovered behind locked doors…
Selling its wares at a healthy 100g a bag and averaging at 95p, the shop deals in popular treats from rhubarb and custard hard boiled confectionery to fizzy cola bottles and bon bons.
5 The Shambles, York
Open: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 10am-4.30pm
Owners Elen and Mike Oakenfull decided to open up shop in 2011 after Elen had been made redundant. They created a traditional sweetshop with a twist.
The shop offers their own Wren Street sweets (£4.99), which come in a selection of different tins for you to collect; think of them as Pokémon cards, but just more edible (and some may argue more useful). The shop also hints at a patriotic theme by offering a Yorkshire Mix jar (£1.10 per 100g).
5 Bootham, York | 01904 270213 | florencewren.co.uk
Open: Tues – Sat 11am-6.15pm, Sun 12pm-5pm
The York Sweet Shop
Owned by John Bull Confectioners (est 1911), the York Sweet Shop prides itself on providing a wide range of classic confectionery, from humbugs to cola cubes. So it’s sure to ignite some flicker of nostalgia in your tastebuds. You can grab some bestselling peanut brittle, or even treat yourself to an 100g assortment of pick ‘n’ mix for 99p.
The York Sweet Shop also has a companion shop on Shambles, named after the parent company: John Bull Confectioners.
56 Low Petergate, York | 01904 622412 | john-bull.com
Open: Monday to Sunday, 9am-5.30pm
Mr Simm’s Olde Sweet Shoppe
The chain was first started in 2004 in Leek, and now claims to be Britain’s number one traditional sweet shop. Mr Simm’s Olde Sweet Shoppe boasts an extraordinary range of jar sweets, the smell of which is enough to make you keel over with sugar-coated joy.
York’s shop, owned by Rachel Harris, offers sweets for people of all ages – the bons bons at 99p per 100g are particularly popular. Most of the sweets are hand-packaged on site and can be made to order for weddings and corporate events.
11 Church Street, York | 01785 850660 | mrsimmsoldesweetshoppe.co.uk
Open: Mon-Fri 9am-5.30pm, Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 10.30am-4.30pm
Established in West Yorkshire in 2006, Candy Hero provides a wide range of continental confectionery, or “candy” if you’re American. With best sellers such as Reeses chocolate (from £1.20) and a scorpion lolly (£3.50), you can’t help but be intrigued.
While the vast majority of the products are imported, manager Gemma Wilson explained that the pick ‘n’ mix bags were made up in store and that the business was particularly successful online.
4 Coney Street, York | 0844 344 9170 | candyhero.com
Open: Mon-Fri 9am-6pm, Sat 9am-7pm, Sun 10am-6pm
Monk Bar Chocolatiers
Luxury chocolates created by talented chocolatiers – that’s the stock-in-trade of Monk Bar Chocolatiers. As soon as you enter the shop you are hit by a smell that can only be described as heavenly. All the chocolate is hand-crafted to perfection on the premises.
The caramel hearts, at 70p per chocolate, seem to be on the most wanted list, closely followed by the chocolate boxes that range from 90p for one chocolate to £16.80 for 30.
The owner Ray Cardy used to be a teacher and learned the art of chocolatiering from his brother-in-law in the USA. He opened the first shop in the shadow of Monk Bar – hence the name – in 1999 and added the Shambles outlet in 2002.
I know what you’re thinking are they available to provide luxurious treats for my wedding, party etc? Well, as I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know, the answer is yes. Yes they are.
7 Shambles, York | 01904 634999 | monkbar.com | Open: Mon-Sun 10am-5pm
The owners Peter and Fran Guppy started from humble beginnings by creating a mini chocolate factory in their garage in 2010. Soon the business outgrew its home, and so they opened up their first shop.
Guppy’s provide a wide range of hand-crafted chocolates, some of which are pre-packaged on site by their children, who have particularly good sticker skills.
Among their best sellers are milk chocolate salted shards at £3.25 and the hot chocolate stirring stick at £1.60.
5 Audax, Clifton Moor, York | 01904 690399 | guppyschocolates.co.uk
Open: Mon and Fri 9am-4pm, Thur 9am-5pm, Wed 9am-12pm
Not only does this shop provide you with great tasting fudge to buy, it also lets you watch the making of it for free! So you can take as much time as you want to peruse and choose while they entertain the kids. Everyone’s a winner.
The number of flavours offered is astronomical, but you’ll be pleased to know that they provide you with free samples to make your decision just that little bit easier.
The company first started out as Jim Garrahy’s Kitchen in 1983 but has since been inspired by the American-style slab fudge, which is made using whipping cream rather than butter. This new style is what we now know to be Fudge Kitchen’s trademark.
Most fudge slices are around 175g and you can grab four for £16.
58 Low Petergate, York | 01904 645596 | fudgekitchen.co.uk
Open: Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-4.30pm
York’s Chocolate Story not only offers a tour through the city’s confectionery heritage, it also offers Yorkshire chocolates for sale in its gift shop. Find it on King’s Square.
There is also a sweet shop on Stonegate, Debbie’s, but the staff were too busy to speak to us.