By Simon Levine
The newest hot spot in Las Vegas is Sugar Factory, and the latest accessory endorsed by celebs like Kim Kardashian and the Pussycat Dolls is the candy shop’s Couture Lollipop. The shop sells a sexed-up, adult take on the ’pop, with flavors such as Pina Colada, Champagne and Watermelon offered in "diamond"-studded holders with enough variety to match any outfit. Once you purchase your holder (which runs around $25), you can refill it with a new lollipop ($12 for 3 pops). After all, you wouldn't want to throw away your brand-new Chanel clutch every time you had to change the contents, would you?
This transformation of candy isn’t limited to Vegas, though. In New York City, a company called Papabubble is creating art out of hard candies, in flavors such as Teaberry, Pineapple & Mint, and their popular fizzy soda candies. In honor of the warm weather, some candies come adorned with ladybugs, butterflies and rainbows. Their popularity is certainly catching on. Co-owner Fiona Ryan claims that a man once bartered a portrait of the other co-owner for a jar of candy, and one loyal customer refers to the candies as “tasting like freedom.”
Suckerborne, in Connecticut, is taking the lollipop in a decidedly different direction than Sugar Factory. There aren’t any diamonds, but the flavors like Brown Sugar Maple Bacon, Lemon Vodka Martini, Gin & Tonic and Stamford Yacht Club Rum Punch are definitely not for kids. Although made with premium-label alcohol and costing you $20 for a 12-pack, will you get drunk on these suckers? Sorry, no such luck.
Founder Megan Ferrell has bad memories of trying to perfect the beer-flavored lollipop. “I still cringe thinking about it,” she said. “But once we swapped traditional beer [such as Budweiser] with Guinness, it worked.”
Liddabit Sweets in Brooklyn, N.Y., is applying the local, artisanal food movement to chocolates and caramels. Flavors like Beer & Pretzel and Sea Salt are wildly popular among the yuppie crowd.
But premium taste will take a bite out of your pocket.
After explaining that the high prices (one dozen Beer & Pretzel caramels go for $13.25) are due to the handmade nature of the candies, a woman once sarcastically asked if the hand was included in the price, recalled Liz Gutman of Liddabit Sweets. “I really wanted to say, ‘Well, no, but if you like I could give you a finger.’ I just smiled and thought, well, the price only includes our blood, sweat and tears.”