The sweetest season


The jelly bean display. Photo by Maria Kalaitzandonakes

Maria Kalaitzandonakes

The jelly bean display. Photo by Maria Kalaitzandonakes
The jelly bean display at the Candy Factory.
Photo by Maria Kalaitzandonakes

Spring is here.

The pitter-pattering of the rain has begun to hit my windows every morning. And I lull myself to sleep with quiet french songs, cuddled up in the nook of easy chair with a worn out Harry Potter novel. It’s the time for freshly-cut flowers, playing frisbee in the park and chocolate-covered strawberries.

It is the perfect season for a journey to the corner of Cherry St., to the Candy Factory, the sweetest destination in town.

The green rounded awning welcomes you and transports you to some old forgotten day. Inside, the wooden counters shine, and the glass display cases glisten. But the look of the store is not important: it’s the smell. Somehow, the thick Missouri spring air gets in and mixes with the heavy tones of chocolate, butterscotch and icing. It’s this delightful amalgam of fresh and sweet. It makes you focus on your breathing, each breath seeming to say, “Inhale, this is where I belong. Exhale, I’m never leaving.”

Walk around for a second in this store and you’ll be overwhelmed by all of the delicious options. Candy Lego blocks, chocolate covered Oreos, jelly beans, chocolate potato chips, truffles and really anything you can imagine.

Easter may be gone, and with it all the peeps and chocolate bunnies have left, but spring itself is a holiday. We survived another Missouri winter, and for that, you deserve a treat.

And if you’re a Columbian, you have been to the top level of the Candy Factory. It is Willy Wonka’s home away from home, his little hideaway when he needs to come to Columbia to watch the Tigers. It’s gumdrop city, strawberry-clouded, liquorice-lined.

The workers behind the class wave a happy good morning, and you rest for a spring moment on the bendy bench and take the hardiest of bites of your purchase from downstairs.

The calming, too-sweet taste of chocolate mixes with the tart strawberry, and it all settles on my expectant tongue — a spring serenade.

I flip the worn page of Prisoner of Azkaban and pop another one in. Mmmmm.

By Maria Kalaitzandonakes