Update: The Clark Street Dulcelandia is now closed, but other locations around Chicago are still selling sweets!
Happy Halloween! Earlier today we used the upcoming holiday as an excuse for a candy-related adventure and headed to Dulcelandia in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. “Dulcelandia” translates to “Candy Land,” and this Chicagoland chain was every bit a Mexican reincarnation of the whimsical board game. Actually, it was better: It included piñatas.
When we walked into the story, the woman working at the register (Mary was her name; we became friends) offered us a tray full of about eight types of small candies to try. (As if we hadn’t already expected to love this place, but this solidified it.) All of the candy in the story is imported, the majority from Mexico and some from Colombia. The piñatas, which hung from every inch of the ceiling and covered the floor in the front of the store, also are made in Mexico and shipped to Chicago. We took some time investigating the candy selection ourselves before asking Mary to point us toward the most popular—and craziest—candies. Lollipops and anything chile-flavored, especially chile-flavored lollipops, apparently are the bestsellers. We picked up a few “pollo asado” lollipops, which were spicy and shaped like whole chickens (seriously!) as well as some mango and watermelon suckers coated in chile, of course.
Some of our other favorite finds (well, Mary helped us find them) were Tomy sucking candies, which are peanut-flavored and reminiscent of Werther’s, chewy watermelon-flavored candies with a kick of chile, decorated sugar skulls for Dia de los Muertos and “dulces de camote,” which are slices of candied sweet potato. Every time Mary noticed a certain candy intrigued us, she’d grab a piece, rip off the wrapper and say, “Here, try it!” We thank the culture of Mexican hospitality for that generosity. But seriously, why aren’t all candy stores so encouraging?
Naturally, we wanted to stay in Dulcelandia forever. Once we finally forced ourselves to leave, we gorged on our full-bag purchases (each of us only spent about $5 for hordes of delicious imported candy!) the whole way back to Evanston. We went from sugar high to sugar coma before we even saw Northwestern’s campus. Looks like we haven’t learned since we were five years old.
See for yourself: We visited the Dulcelandia at 6718 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60626. Look here for more locations. All photos by Tara and Karina.
–Tara and Karina for TKGO