13 Sweet Spots and Candy Shops to Find Old-Fashioned and Handmade Confections

A list of new and classic Cincinnati confectioners

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click to enlarge Aglamesis Bros. - Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Aglamesis Bros.


Aglamesis Brothers

Thomas and Nicholas Aglamesis, two brothers who immigrated to Cincinnati from Sparta, Greece in the late 19th century, opened their first ice cream and candy parlor in Norwood in 1908. While the Great Depression forced them to sell that store less than two decades later, their second location, established in 1913, still remains virtually unchanged from the day it opened in Oakley, with chic Tiffany lamps and a marble soda fountain. Thomas’ son, James, took over the family business in the 1950s and kept the recipes and methods of the older generation consistent, churning out rich ice cream, fresh fruit sorbets (try the pink champagne flavor) and assorted copper-kettle-crafted chocolate candies. The store’s quality has earned it national acclaim from publications including The New York Times and Bon AppetitWhat they’re known for: If nuts and chocolate are your go-to candy combo, enjoy their giant pecandes, made by spreading homemade caramel over chopped pecans before coating them in either milk or dark chocolate. For those who want something sweeter, try the jimmy creams, made by covering buttery chocolate fondant icing in more chocolate and topping it with chocolate sprinkles. 3046 Madison Road, Oakley; 9899 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, aglamesis.com. — TOMMY MCDONALD 

Chocolats Latour

Shalini Latour started making chocolate at the age of 14, later becoming a pastry chef and baker (with a stint at the BonBonerie) and launching her fair-trade Chocolats Latour brand in 2009. Now operating out of a shared storefront in Northside — the Chocolate Bee, with local honey entrepreneur Bee Haven — Latour is known for her creative flavor combinations, made using local ingredients including cream and milk from Snowville Creamery and herbs sourced from her own garden. For example, the Bollywood bar blends dark chocolate with turmeric, curry, mango, coconut and golden raisins while the Perfume of Provence takes white chocolate and infuses it with lavender, lemon and sea salt. What they’re known for: Chocolats Latour is known for their chocolate bars but look for seasonal offerings including hand-painted truffles. Shapes range from flowers and orbs to zombie bunnies for Easter in all different flavors — solid milk chocolate, salted caramel, gianduja, etc. For Valentine’s Day, the Love & Kisses truffles are lip- and heart-shaped hand-painted dark chocolate truffles filled with flavors like passion fruit black tea and rum, grapefruit moonshine, vodka rose and basil and more. 4037 Hamilton Ave., Northside, chocolatslatour.com. — MAIJA ZUMMO

Fawn Candy Co.

After returning home from World War II, Paul Guenther opened the Fawn Candy Company with his wife, Jean, to sell homemade ice cream, and they eventually began to make and sell their own candies. Still owned by Guenther’s four daughters, the local shop specializes in small-batch traditional candies like cream candy, fudge and peanut brittle. Customer favorites include buckeyes, turtles and caramel apples. After 73 years of business, the Fawn Candy Co. continues to make small batches of their candies daily at their two locations in Western Hills and Norwood. What they’re known for: If you want to take a walk on the savory side, try their chocolate-covered bacon. Fawn dips baked thick-cut bacon in milk chocolate and then tops it with a decorative white chocolate drizzle. They also sell chocolate-drizzled popcorn and potato chips for that sought-after taste-bud-blasting combo of sweet and salty. 4271 Harrison Ave., Western Hills; 2692 Madison Road, Rookwood, fawncandy.com. — BEN REES

click to enlarge Henry's Candy Co. - Photo: Paige Deglow
Photo: Paige Deglow
Henry's Candy Co.

Henry’s Candy Co.

Henry’s Candy Co. is a colorful and playfully Pop art family-owned and operated confectioner that sells candy by the pound in downtown Hamilton. Sweets of all sorts — from assorted chocolates and fruit gummies to wax lips and lollipops — are laid out in a rainbow’s worth of color-blocked cases for customers to browse and fill a bag (or bags) of whatever bites they like. Family and community are at the heart of Henry’s. The store is named after the owners’ late son and the goal of the shop is to “strive to contribute color and smiles to the continual rebirth of Hamilton.” In additional to nostalgic sweets and contemporary candies, Henry’s also offers savory snack mixes and sugar-free options — and wild candy-infused window displays for anyone walking by. What they’re known for: Henry’s is no stranger to the wonderful world of gummy candies, but they have a soft spot for gummy bears and carry more than 20 different versions of the squishy animal candy. 243 High St., Hamilton, facebook.com/henryscandyco. — BR

Graeter’s

It’s safe to assume that almost everyone who’s spent time in Cincinnati has been to Graeter’s for some of Oprah’s favorite ice cream, but don’t overlook their handmade chocolate candies. The family business, now in its fourth generation, began making and selling chocolate not long after Louis Graeter began selling ice cream at Pendleton Street markets in 1868. Louis’ first store would not open until 1900 when he and his third wife, Regina, moved to 967 E. McMillan St. where their sweet creations would be produced and sold. After Louis’ 1919 death, Regina expanded operations and their second location opened in Hyde Park in 1922. Since then, Graeter’s has expanded to 53 locations — mostly in Ohio and Kentucky — and can be found in 6,000 stores across America. What they’re known for: Outside of their signature French Pot ice cream, Graeter’s is also known for their decadent opera creams — butter and fresh cream hide inside hand-decanted dark chocolate shells which can be bought by the pound. Another favorite is their chocolate marshmallow hearts with hand-whipped marshmallow carefully coated by hand in light chocolate. Multiple Cincinnati locations, graeters.com. — TM

click to enlarge Loveland Sweets - Photo: Israel Viox
Photo: Israel Viox
Loveland Sweets

Loveland Sweets

Founded in 2006, this nostalgia-inducing confectioner offers a blend of housemade items and an array of other specialty sweets. They make tons of chocolate offerings in house, from marshmallow clouds (aka chocolate-covered marshmallows) to caramels and a variety of turtles, as well as small-batch ice cream and stock a selection of novelty bulk candies and vintage options like Chick-O-Sticks and rootbeer barrels. They also serve coffee, tea and espresso drinks.  What they’re known for: Owner Gloria Wilson and Co. make various candy barks —sheets of chocolate filled with different things like candy or nuts — that are really popular. Birthday cake bark and unicorn bark are colorful and dotted with sprinkles, whereas options like almond bark or toffee bark attract traditionalists. 124 W. Loveland Ave., Loveland, lovelandsweets.com. — MZ

Maverick Chocolate

This bean-to-bar chocolatier just opened a second storefront in Rookwood; its flagship Findlay Market operation opened in 2014. Helmed by Paul Picton and his wife, the self-taught couple and the rest of the Maverick team purchase ethically sourced, direct-trade cacao beans from farmers in countries like Belize, Ecuador and Peru and then do everything from sorting, roasting, grinding and tempering to flavoring, molding and packaging in their shop. Their award-winning bars come in flavors ranging from classic 70 percent Belize Dark Chocolate (a winner of a 2019 Good Food Award) to Prohibition Milk Chocolate made with Kentucky bourbon. They also make cocoa powder, drinking chocolate, gianduja chocolate-hazelnut spread and cocoa nibs. What they’re known for: Try their uber popular Fahrenheit 513 dark chocolate bar, made with a secret blend of chilies and spices and “waves of cinnamon.” It’s got heat and sweet. 129 W. Elder St., Over-the-Rhine; 2651 Edmondson Road, Rookwood, maverickchocolate.com. — MZ

click to enlarge Patty's Old Fashioned Popcorn - Photo: Paige Deglow
Photo: Paige Deglow
Patty's Old Fashioned Popcorn

Patty’s Old Fashioned Popcorn

Patty’s Old Fashioned Popcorn is a gourmet popcorn and classic candy shop just off of Hyde Park Square. In 2010, two ex-Mormons from Utah decided to bring their old-school popcorn cooking to the Midwest and launched Patty’s using century-old recipes and techniques. Now, the shop is run by DJ Snider and his dad, Nick, who learned the copper-kettle technique from original owners Randy and Pat. All the popcorn flavors are made onsite in copper kettles, mixed with oars from the very early 1900s. Patty’s is also known for their handmade candies like turtles, pretzel rods and fresh caramel. What they’re known for: Patty’s Old Fashioned Popcorn specializes in, you guessed it, popcorn. Try their crowd favorite Italian black truffle popcorn made with Mediterranean sea salt, mixed with bits of truffle, or Cincy-style corn with a blend of caramel and white cheddar. While you’re there picking up a bag of popcorn, treat yourself to something sweet, too. 3437 Michigan Ave., Hyde Park, pattysoldfashionedpopcorn.com. — BR

Perfetti Van Melle

One of the world’s largest candy manufacturers is right here in the Greater Cincinnati area, although many residents aren’t aware of it. Perfetti Van Melle’s company name might not ring a bell, but their primary domestic products sure do: Airheads and Mentos. The company’s U.S. headquarters is just a little bit south of Cincinnati, in Erlanger, Kentucky. The organization boasts worldwide sales of $3 billion annually, employs more than 17.7 thousand around the world, sells candy in 150 countries and oversees 30 manufacturing facilities. In 1946, Ambrogio and Egidio Perfetti began making candy just outside of Milan, Italy; in 1900, Izaak Van Melle began a small confectionery business in his grandfather’s bakery. In 2001, Perfetti acquired Van Melle, creating Perfetti Van Melle as we know it today. What they’re known for: Nearly everyone has tried Airheads and Mentos at some point, but the company also creates a number of unique regional treats that aren’t household names around here. Two great examples: Chupa Chups Magics lollipops are filled with fizzy powder and have been around since 1958, and Alpenliebe’s chewy caramels reflect the company’s European roots. Mentos were introduced in 1945, and Airheads were born in 1985. 3645 Turfway Road, Erlanger, perfettivanmelle.com. — BILL FURBEE

click to enlarge Peter Minges & Son - Photo: Paige Deglow
Photo: Paige Deglow
Peter Minges & Son

Peter Minges & Son

The oldest candy shop in Cincinnati, Peter Minges & Sons tries to keep their candy and store as traditional as possible. Walking into this downtown candy shop is like walking into the early 20th century. According to Heather Rohr, the current manager, the shelves, counters and the building itself are all the same as when Peter Minges moved in from a mule-drawn wagon. They even display pictures and antiques on the back wall from the beginning of the company. Opened since 1905, the shop continues to sell traditional and modern candies side by side. The company was sold to Supreme Nut & Candy in 2000, but according to Rohr, they promised not to change the name or location of the store to keep its authenticity intact. “If Willy Wonka lived in Cincinnati, that would be his home,” she says. What they’re known for: Minges & Sons specializes in bulk candy, but they have a candy counter where one can buy small bags of candy for anyone in need of a treat for one. 138 W. Court St., Downtown, 513-241-7376. — BR

click to enlarge Quaintrelle Confections - Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Quaintrelle Confections

Quaintrelle Confections

Meggie Kraus started her artisan marshmallow bar in November 2017, selling dense, creamy and pillowy squares handcrafted with only water, sugar, gelatin, salt and assorted flavorings. Her OTR s’more bar sandwiches hand-torched flavored marshmallows (vanilla, espresso, peppermint, etc.) between graham crackers, layered with toppings (Oreos, toffee, coconut and more) and drizzled with dark chocolate, caramel or peanut butter. But if you don’t want to wait in store for a s’more, you can take a bag of marshmallows home. Grab a bag of classic vanilla, matcha or chocolate chip. What they’re known for: Marshmallows, obviously. We recommend heading to the storefront to build your own s’more — just check their Instagram before you go. Some days Quaintrelle sells out of marshmallows early and has to close up shop. 1210 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, quaintconfections.com. — MZ

click to enlarge Schneider's Sweet Shop - Photo: Israel Viox
Photo: Israel Viox
Schneider's Sweet Shop

Schneider’s Sweet Shop

Founded in 1939, Robert and Lill Schneider took charge soon after their family established this location as a neighborhood candy and ice cream shop. When Robert retired in 1986, his son Jack took over with his wife, Kathy. Located in historic Bellevue, Schneider’s is situated on the corner of Fairfield and Foote, among a number of other independent family-owned businesses which also define the area’s small-town charm. Eager patrons peer through glass displays at rows of handcrafted treats and know the staff here by first name. What they’re known for: Opera creams are the most popular item at Schneider’s, but other specialties include fudge, caramels, cordial cherries, pecan caramelettes (turtles) and Kentucky Cream Candy. The shop is also known for serving up a unique northern Kentucky treat: homemade ice balls. The shop boasts a soda fountain and satisfies locals with malts, shakes, floats, sundaes and banana splits, as well. 420 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue, schneiderscandies.com. — BF

Sweet Tooth Candies

One of Newport’s most beloved spots is Sweet Tooth Candies, and its striped red and white awning out front has been a welcome sight for young and old alike for decades. This regional gem is open year-round to keep locals and out-of-town visitors stocked up with handmade candies and ready-to-enjoy seasonal treats. What they’re known for: In the summer, customers from near and far line up for ice balls (kind of like a Sno-Cone with the option to add ice cream); in the winter, caramel apples are in season and not to be missed. The shop is also known for its homemade buckeyes, opera creams, molasses chips and chocolate butter. 125 W. 11th St., Newport, sweettoothchocolates.com. — BF

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