Valentine’s Day is near, and when you’re buying sweets for your sweet, why not consider these local candy stores? This list covers the gamut — from gourmet chocolates to classic candies from your childhood. And honestly, shopping at one of these stores is infinitely better than picking through the leftovers at Kroger.
Amore di Mona
Online and at various locations
While Amore di Mona does not have a storefront, it is a local candy maker with a unique twist. It is a self-described “collective of nutrition-focused food artisans and health care providers” that creates chocolate for those with “food allergies, diabetes, gluten intolerance, or have chosen a vegan lifestyle.” If you want to buy chocolate for someone who usually can’t have it, or just treat yourself, Amore di Mona gives you the option. They use ingredients that are certified common allergen free by third-party labs, and regular testing ensures that these candies are free of peanuts, tree nuts, milk, soy, fish, eggs and gluten. You can order them online, or pick them up at one of these local stores: Dundee Candy Shop, Lucky’s Market or McQuixote Coffee & Boo.
631 S. Fourth St.
819 W. Main St.
Open Monday – Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 12-4 p.m.
When Art Eatables opened, it was flooded with the question: “Do you make bourbon balls?” It didn’t and didn’t want to. As the store put it, “Everyone’s grandmother makes them [and] we didn’t want to trample on that tradition.” But the demand was so great that the chocolatiers started experimenting with bourbon-infused candies and chocolates to come up with something different. They hit the sweet spot with their small-batch bourbon truffles, a treat so good they decided they needed to brand it with an identification token. But if truffles aren’t your thing, the store offers other artisan chocolates and candies as well (many of which are also bourbon infused).
Cellar Door Chocolates
Butchertown: 1201 Story Ave.
Downtown: 601A S. Fourth St.
Open Monday – Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cellar Door Chocolates can boast that it was picked to be the official chocolate sponsor of the Creative Arts and Primetime Emmys in 2014, 2015 and 2016. It says it built its reputation on “handmade truffles, buttercreams, sea salt caramels and wide selection of other chocolate treats.” But a hallmark of Cellar Door is its playful experimentation, so look for its latest creations. Or, you can sign up for the store’s Gourmet Chocolate Club and receive a package of new chocolates every month. These packages include new products not yet available in-store or online, as well as seasonal favorites. Memberships cost anywhere from $25-$540.
Dundee Candy Shop
2112 Bardstown Road
Open Monday – Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Dundee Candy Shop was opened by Irma Issler in 1946. A German native with a sweet tooth, Issler brought to Louisville her love of European sweets, including candies from the Netherlands, France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. The store offers bourbon balls, chocolates, truffles, hard candies, licorice, cordials, confections and, of course, seasonal candies such as Valentine’s Day assortments. Don’t forget the Modjeskas! (Those are caramel-covered marshmallow candies created in the 1880s in Louisville in honor of Shakespearean actress Helena Modjeska.)
630 E. Market St.
Open Tuesday – Saturday; 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Muth’s Candies refers to itself as “the sweetest spot in NuLu.” Actually, it has been around since 1921, before NuLu was Nulu, and four generations of Muth’s have made it their business of hand making chocolates, caramels, brittles and Modjeskas. The store also offers Valentine’s Day assortments of chocolates, Derby-themed chocolates, bourbon balls, taffy and sugar-free candies. As the store says, “The best way to make someone your friend is with a great piece of candy.”
347 Spring St. (Jeffersonville, Indiana)
Open Monday – Saturday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Schimpff’s Confectionery opened on Spring Street in 1891, and as the store boasts, it has “survived wars, floods, depressions and recessions through four generations.” Schimpff’s makes its own Red Hots, Fish Candy and Modjeskas. The store also offers sugar-free candies and Valentine’s Day themed chocolates. Schimpff’s also has a candy museum, with thousands of pieces of American candy memorabilia and decades worth of candy-making equipment and artifacts. Contact the store about its free tours, and you can watch as the candy is made using century-old equipment.
The Sweet Spot Candy Shoppe
1583 Bardstown Road
Open Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday 12-6 p.m.
Located in The Highlands, this local candy store says it specializes in hard-to-find items (including nostalgia candies such as candy cigarettes and candy with retro packaging), as well as chocolates. And, if your sweet tooth is Godzilla size, there is bulk candy for office parties and the like. The store also has a full line of Jelly Belly items, a massive selection of gummy candies and a large assortment of gourmet sodas.