Published May 29, 2023
BY TERESA FRAHM
For a small town, Carmel plays home to an impressive collection of independent candy shops, offering hundreds of types of chocolates and confections spanning a full range of flavors and styles. Featured below are only some of Carmel’s many candymakers.
Pieces of Heaven – The Barnyard
The Pieces of Heaven chocolate shop is one of the staples of Carmel. After 34 years in business, it harbors its fair share of regulars and offers freshly made confections to locals and tourists alike.
“I work here because of the candy and the people that come in,” says employee Shawna Horrigan. “We have a lot of loyal customers.”
Well equipped for the upcoming summer months, it also hosts a selection of Marianne’s Ice Cream, though the shop’s specialty lies in house-made
caramels, turtles and other specialty chocolates.
All About the Chocolate – Dolores Street
Full of bright lights, colorful displays and inviting decor, stepping into All About the Chocolate is like stepping into another world. Celebrating its sixth year in business, the shop boasts a wide variety of treats and drinks.
“Chocolate puts a smile on anyone’s face,” says co-owner Nadia Ahmadi. “That’s the happiest part, selling something that makes people happy.”
Featuring homemade fudge and chocolates alongside local truffles and international candies alike, All About Chocolates has a wide variety of sweets suitable for the candy connoisseur and the idle dessert dabbler.
The Xocolatl Garden – Ocean Avenue
Tucked away in a hidden garden between the shops of Carmel, the Xocolatl Garden, derived from the Nahuatl word for chocolate, is a must-see for the more discerning chocolate lover.
“All the different flavor notes are really interesting,” says employee Casey Brown. “When you first try an exotic chocolate, it will change your outlook on things.”
Sourced from ethical makers, their selection features an extensive collection of specialty chocolates. They carry a wide range of gluten-free, vegan and organic chocolate from fair-trade sources around the world.
Lula’s Chocolates – The Crossroads
A nearly unrivaled icon of Carmel’s candy prowess, Lula’s is known for its classy packaging and common presence at grocery stores across the region. A regular Golden Pine Cone winner, its Crossroads storefront is treasured by many locals.
“I love seeing the familiar faces,” says Allie Dabi, a Lulu’s employee. “You really get to know everyone that comes in.”
Specializing in caramels, turtles and truffles, it makes up for its lack of sale of individual chocolates in adorable boxed assortments, ready for either gifting or immediate consumption.
Cottage of Sweets – Ocean Avenue
A three-time winner of the Carmel Pine Cone’s Golden Pine Cone award for best candy shop, Cottage of Sweets is another favored stop for both locals and visitors alike.
“We have a large selection of very niche stuff,” says employee Amari Gomez. “It’s really different, and I love the ambiance.”
Featuring imported international and nostalgic candies, Cottage of Sweets is prized for its wide selection of specialty licorice and truffles and house-made fudge.