For visitors to Carmel-by-the-Sea, it's always a case of "so much food, so little time." Well and good, but take a break from winetasting and expensive bistro dinners to enjoy some casual treats at the always-crowded Cottage of Sweets.
The 300-square-foot cottage sells 600 types of candies, from Turkish delight to peanut butter cups. The big draws, though, are the licorice and the homemade fudge.
The most popular fudge flavor is sea salt-caramel, said manger Karen Bateham on the phone today. "It outsells the other fudges three to one."
Dozens of kinds of licorice are on offer, 10 of which are salted - a common touch in European countries. Many of the licorices are domestic, but most are imported from Australia, England, Finland, Germany, Holland, Italy, Switzerland and Sweden.
What's the most unusual type? "Dutch licorice ship ropes," Bateham said. "They look like little pieces of rope and are dusted with an extreme salt coating."
The cottage was built in 1922 and became the Cottage of Sweets in 1959. Its current owners, Lanny and Linda Rose, took over in 1980.
The cottage was fashioned after the 20 or so "fairytale" cottages built by architect and Carmel resident Hugh Comstock in the 1920s. The style is characterized by crooked lines, swooping roofs, turrets, alcoves and stone chimneys that appear to be on the brink of tumbling down. They help epitomize the town.
If you can't get to Carmel any time soon, you can order candies online at www.cottageofsweets.com. The store is on Ocean Avenue between Lincoln and Monte Verde; (831) 624-517.
One last thing: Why can't people resist candy? I asked Bateham.
"Why would they want to?" she replied.