Sweet visit

candyThere’ s always a place on long car rides where you wished your parents would stop, writes NZ Herald reporter Danielle Wright.

For her children, Taupiri’s Candyland is that spot – and this time she stops.

After admiring a mural filled with dancing jellybeans, we’re swallowed up into the Candyland shop through a doorway surrounded by giant painted teeth.

Inside are rows and rows of every kind of lolly, licorice and lollipop. Sweets I hadn’t seen before, such as Pretzel M&Ms, sit next to old favourites that include jelly snakes and milk bottles.

There’s even – sign of the times – a small sugar-free aisle, many types of fudge, as well as a cafe serving tea “in mama’s best teacups”, with a Belgian chocolate fondue and chilli pepper hot chocolate also available.

There’s a pin-up board near the entrance filled with thank you notes from schools, families who’ve celebrated a birthday here and even one couple who took their wedding photos out the front.

Despite the love from the locals, it seems a little run down, but the kids don’t seem to notice as we’re ushered towards the back of the room – past a cut-out of a bungee-jumping smartie – and enter the Candyland show.

The first lesson of the day is chocolate-making.

The chocolate panning room is filled with machinery, including giant silver cylinders turning like concrete mixers. An employee dressed in pink and wearing fairy wings comes out and takes us through the process.

Efron, a boy in the audience, is chosen as her helper. “Why is his name F-word?” asks a girl behind us as he drizzles chocolate over eskimo marshmallows, while a toddler in the front row tries to grab everyone’s lollipop stick. “We put sweets, or sometimes kids who don’t behave themselves, into the chocolate coating machine,” says the fairy tutor, which settles the children down a little.

A pastel-coloured giant gnome watches as we all shout a magic word at the cooling tunnel to make the chocolate hurry up and set. Once it has, we head past a giant lollipop – once the world’s biggest – and meet candymaker Aimy, who also chooses Efron as the helper.

She finds out that Candyland uses natural flavours and colours, such as beetroot juice.  To read the rest of the story, click here.

Candyland is at 75 Henry Rd in Taupiri. Candymaking shows are on Saturdays and Sundays (daily during school holidays) at 10.30am and 1pm; the shop is open from 10am to 5pm.

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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

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