The Best Chocolate Shop in All 50 States

iStock.com/TorriPhoto
iStock.com/TorriPhoto

Chocolate is one of life's sweet, simple pleasures. And luckily, there are plenty of chocolatiers across the country who are happy to help you indulge your chocolate cravings. Whether you have a hankering for truffles, handmade chocolate bars, or chocolate-covered marshmallows, here are the best chocolate shops in all 50 states.

1. Best Chocolate Shop in Alabama: Peterbrooke Chocolatier

chocolate-covered popcorn in a bowl
iStock.com/LauriPatterson

Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Take a bite out of one of the chocolate treats at Peterbrooke Chocolatier, and you'll quickly realize why this shop is a step above the rest. The most fun, decadent confections here are the chocolate-covered popcorn, pretzels, and Oreos.

2. Best Chocolate Shop in Alaska: The Alaskan Fudge Company

Location: Juneau, Alaska

Founded in 1980, The Alaskan Fudge Company makes killer fudge and chocolate treats ranging from Husky Paws (chocolate, pecans, and caramel) to cappuccino truffles. For something lighter, try the white chocolate-dipped apricots.

3. Best Chocolate Shop in Arizona: Chocofin Chocolatier

Location: Fountain Hills, Arizona

This bean-to-bar craft chocolate shop treats the humble cocoa bean with the utmost care and respect. Try their small-batch, handmade chocolate bars, nut barks, and banana macadamia chocolate, in which banana ganache is topped with a salted macadamia nut.

4. Best Chocolate Shop in Arkansas: Sweet's Fudge Kitchen

blocks of fudge on a plate
iStock.com/pamela_d_mcadams

Location: Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Established in 1969, Sweet's Fudge Kitchen focuses on fresh ingredients to make the absolute best chocolates. Besides almond and cashew turtles, the shop also sells a mouthwatering fudge, hard candies, and licorice.

5. Best Chocolate Shop in California: Edelweiss

Location: Beverly Hills, California

Since opening in 1942, Edelweiss has served Hollywood legends including Frank Sinatra and Katharine Hepburn. The shop's assembly line even inspired the famous chocolate factory scene in I Love Lucy's episode "Job Switching." Today, Edelweiss's chocolate-dipped marshmallows (available in flavors such as mocha, mint, and coconut) are super-popular.

6. Best Chocolate Shop in Colorado: Chocolate Lab

Location: Denver, Colorado

For anyone curious about the chemistry of food, Chocolate Lab might be the coolest place ever. Pick up an assortment of their hand-crafted chocolates and uniquely flavored truffles, or stay for lunch and dinner. The menu features soups, sandwiches, and salads that thoughtfully incorporate chocolate. Try the fantastic chocolate balsamic glaze and chocolate barbecue sauce.

7. Best Chocolate Shop in Connecticut: Deborah Ann's Sweet Shoppe

outside view of Deborah Ann's Sweet Shoppe

Frank Di Martino, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Location: Ridgefield, Connecticut

Deborah Ann's Sweet Shoppe has plenty of homemade ice cream, candy, and fudge, but the chocolates are truly the star at this lovely store. Wondering what to get? Start with the chocolate-covered strawberries, then see where your taste buds take you.

8. Best Chocolate Shop in Delaware: Sweet Serenity Chocolates

Location: Seaford, Delaware

Owned by a husband and wife team, Sweet Serenity Chocolates is all about building community through chocolate. The store's most tasty items include the hand-dipped buttercream truffles and cookies and cream bark.

9. Best Chocolate Shop in Florida: Key Largo Chocolates

Location: Key Largo, Florida

This fun, bright shop in the Florida Keys serves truffles, bark, fudge, and cake pops enveloped in luscious chocolate. The handmade chocolate truffles are, appropriately, available in tropical flavors such as coconut rum, key lime, and banana daiquiri.

10. Best Chocolate Shop in Georgia: Chocolat by Adam Turoni

Location: Savannah, Georgia

Savannah's charming historic district has two Chocolat by Adam Turoni locations, to the delight of locals and visitors alike. The whimsical stores serve artisan truffles, caramelized chocolate covered hazelnuts, and an amazing Savannah honey chocolate bar, which is made with 72 percent dark chocolate, local wildflower honey, and 24k gold dust.

11. Best Chocolate Shop in Hawaii: Manoa

Location: Kailua, Hawaii

This bean-to-bar chocolate factory and retail store uses single origin cacao from around the world to make a variety of dark chocolate confections. The shop's most popular chocolate bar is made with roasted cacao nibs and coffee beans, but don't overlook the incredible lavender bar, which is made with 60 percent cacao and Ali'i Kula lavender.

12. Best Chocolate Shop in Idaho: The Chocolat Bar

Red and gold-flecked bonbon
iStock.com/TorriPhoto

Location: Boise, Idaho

Customers at The Chocolat Bar can find creative, artistic chocolate treats ranging from orange slices dipped in dark chocolate to hand-painted chocolate footwear. The exquisite chocolate shoes (for eating, not for wearing) include dark or milk chocolate high heels decorated with flowers, polka dots, leopard print, and more.

13. Best Chocolate Shop in Illinois: KC Chocolatier

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Fans of Belgian chocolate should stop what they're doing and head to KC Chocolatier, stat. This East Lincoln Park chocolate shop creates beautiful gift boxes containing all types of chocolate, from truffles and hazelnut creams to cordials and caramels.

14. Best Chocolate Shop in Indiana: The Sound Bend Chocolate Company

Location: Multiple locations, Indiana

This chocolate factory, museum, and retail store in South Bend (with chocolate cafes in multiple other locations) gives visitors a comprehensive overview of chocolate: its history, how it's made, and (most importantly) what it tastes like. The cashew caramel patty and chocolate peanut butter logs will no doubt tempt you, so don't put up a fight.

15. Best Chocolate Shop in Iowa: Chocolate Storybook

chocolate-covered bacon
iStock.com/dirkr

Location: West Des Moines, Iowa

Two words: chocolate bacon. At Chocolate Storybook, you'll find chocolate covered bacon strips, maple bacon chocolate caramels, and plenty of non-porcine chocolate treats. The shop's many holiday-themed gift options include elaborate Valentine's baskets, platters of fancy chocolate-covered strawberries, personalized chocolate Easter rabbits, and, for Christmas, a plate chock-full of chocolate-covered caramels, pretzels, animal crackers, and cookies.

16. Best Chocolate Shop in Kansas: Annedore's Fine Chocolates

Location: Westwood Hills, Kansas

This award-winning chocolate shop specializes in European truffles and holiday-themed chocolate treats. Some of their most delectable chocolates include the vanilla bean, the heart-shaped port wine, and the Irish creme.

17. Best Chocolate Shop in Kentucky: Cellar Door Chocolates

Location: Louisville, Kentucky

With two locations in Louisville, Cellar Door Chocolates makes a lot of amazing chocolate. You can't go wrong with any of the shop's truffles, but the absolute best might be the green chili coconut truffle. It's made with a smooth white chocolate ganache and spicy New Mexican green chili.

18. Best Chocolate Shop in Louisiana: Southern Candymakers

Sign for Southern Candymakers in New Orleans.
rosefirerising, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

Southern Candymakers has been famous for its praline and toffee offerings for 27 years, but the shop's chocolate is also top-notch. Order the hand-dipped, chocolate-covered Queen Anne cherries or the chocolate pralines, which are made with jumbo pecans.

19. Best Chocolate Shop in Maine: Wilbur's Of Maine

Location: Multiple locations, Maine

Located in Freeport and Brunswick, Wilbur's of Maine is a welcome sight for anyone with a serious sweet tooth. The shop excels at making classic, simple treats, evidenced by the perfectly flavorful chocolate-covered blueberries.

20. Best Chocolate Shop in Maryland: SPAGnVOLA

Location: Gaithersburg, Maryland

The chocolatiers at SPAGnVOLA cultivate and process organic cocoa beans from the Dominican Republic to make small-batch chocolate bars, truffles, and bonbons. Dark chocolate lovers will absolutely relish the Dominican 75-percent chocolate bar for its nuanced flavors and rich depth.

21. Best Chocolate Shop in Massachusetts: Phillips Chocolates

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Established in 1925, Phillips Chocolates is Boston's oldest chocolatier, and the shop still makes small batches of chocolate treats by hand. Oprah Winfrey proclaimed the store's basket of turtles to be one of her "favorite things" in 2015. Even the basket itself is edible, and it's filled with milk, dark, and white chocolate turtles.

22. Best Chocolate Shop in Michigan: Alpine Chocolat Haus

Chocolate-covered apples
iStock.com/Imagesbybarbara

Location: Gaylord, Michigan

Gourmet hot chocolate, decorated candy apples, sea salt caramel corn, and chocolate covered potato chips are favorites at The Alpine Chocolat Haus, which has three other locations in Michigan. If you're feeling adventurous, try their ghost pepper caramel corn—it comes in three levels of heat.

23. Best Chocolate Shop in Minnesota: Mademoiselle Miel

Location: St. Paul, Minnesota

Mademoiselle Miel is famous for its terrific honey bon-bons. These treats are filled with local honey, enrobed in single-origin chocolate, and topped with 23-karat edible gold leaf. The shop also sells tantalizing housemade chocolate that is sweetened with local maple sugar.

24. Best Chocolate Shop in Mississippi: Margarete's Fine Chocolates

Location: Tupelo, Mississippi

It's hard to decide between the chocolate cremes, truffles, and nuts at Margarete's Fine Chocolates. Luckily, you can order a basket and fill it with a bit of everything. The triple-dipped chocolate covered strawberries—made with milk, white, and colored white chocolate—are one of their specialties.

25. Best Chocolate Shop in Missouri: Chip's Chocolate Factory

display case of hand-dipped chocolate treats
iStock.com/Luca_Daviddi

Location: Kansas City and Independence, Missouri

Chip's Chocolate Factory is the home of Kansas City Fudge, which is available in over 40 flavors. Visitors can watch chocolatiers make hundreds of chocolate treats in the shop's factory; some of the sweetest include Tiger butter (a combination of peanut butter and Swiss chocolate that melts in your mouth), vanilla caramel turtles, and cinnamon roasted nuts.

26. Best Chocolate Shop in Montana: La Châtelaine Chocolat

Location: Bozeman, Montana

La Châtelaine Chocolat is a whimsical shop inspired by French chocolatiers. The polka-dotted dark chocolate caramel brulé typifies the intricate, artistic designs you'll find on the chocolates. The flavors, including sea salt caramel espresso and strawberry balsamic, are also outstanding.

27. Best Chocolate Shop in Nebraska: Candy Wrappers

Box of cherry cordials.
iStock.com/alpaksoy

Location: Omaha, Nebraska

Candy lovers will find plenty of delightful bulk candy, fudge, and caramel apples at Candy Wrappers, but the handmade chocolate is truly heavenly. Choose between chocolate turtles, cherry cordials, and the popular sea salted dark chocolate caramel swirl popcorn.

28. Best Chocolate Shop in Nevada: Sierra Nevada Chocolate Company

Location: Reno, Nevada

At Sierra Nevada Chocolate Company, you can order chocolate and wine that pair perfectly with each other. If wine isn't your thing, get a bunch of crazy truffles—they come in flavors as wild as watermelon and champagne.

29. Best Chocolate Shop in New Hampshire: Byrne & Carlson

Location: Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Named after founders Ellen Byrne and Christopher Carlson, this sophisticated chocolate shop is what all artisanal chocolatiers should strive to emulate. The store's stunning, handcrafted sweets contain a range of unique ingredients and toppings, including dried fruits, milk chocolate "pearls," crystallized flowers, and dark Belgian chocolate seashells.

30. Best Chocolate Shop in New Jersey: Enjou Chocolat

Location: Morristown, New Jersey

This chocolate shop sells stuffed animals, ice cream, and plenty of chocolate gifts perfect for special occasions and holidays. Some of the best treats here are the pretzel platter—filled with chocolates, chocolate covered popcorn, and, of course, chocolate-covered pretzels—and the milk chocolate-covered potato chips.

31. Best Chocolate Shop in New Mexico: Theobroma Chocolatier

assorted molded chocolates
iStock.com/AnnaPustynnikova

Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Theobroma Chocolatier makes an impressive variety of boxed and molded chocolates. Truffles are available in a variety of flavors, including cappuccino, black forest, champagne, Key lime, and butter pecan. You can also find molded chocolate in the shape of pandas, dinosaurs, business cards, dreidels, and cell phones.

32. Best Chocolate Shop in New York: Aigner Chocolates

Location: Forest Hills, New York

When it comes to chocolate, New York City is a competitive place. But Aigner Chocolates is a step above the rest, as evidenced by the shop's long history. Opened in 1930, Aigner sells (and ships) chocolate barks, cordials, and marshmallows that are made using the kitchen's original kettles and spoons.

33. Best Chocolate Shop in North Carolina: French Broad Chocolates

French Broad Chocolates in Asheville, North Carolina
confusedbee, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Location: Asheville, North Carolina

French Broad Chocolates makes and serves exquisite truffles, chocolate caramels, and hot sipping chocolate. Our menu recommendation: Knock back some dark sipping chocolate and munch on a strawberry balsamic chocolate truffle. Too much chocolate? No such thing.

34. Best Chocolate Shop in North Dakota: Carol Widman's Candy Co.

Location: Fargo and Grand Forks, North Dakota

Four generations of the Widman family have crafted handmade candy and chocolates, beginning with William Widman in 1885. Although Carol Widman's Candy Co. is well-known for its Chippers (chocolate covered potato chips), the turtles, truffles, and chocolate-covered sunflower seeds are among its many other stellar delicacies.

35. Best Chocolate Shop in Ohio: Wittich's Candy Shop

Location: Circleville, Ohio

Wittich's Candy Shop is one of America's oldest family-operated confectioners—and it shows in the vintage charm of the shop, which is home to an old-school soda fountain. Since 1840 the company has prided itself on creating handmade chocolates with high-quality ingredients and paying tribute to its home state with its Buckeyes, a local chocolate treat (available in milk, dark, or white chocolate) with a peanut butter center.

36. Best Chocolate Shop in Oklahoma: Omega Chocolate

Location: Bartlesville, Oklahoma

Omega Chocolate has been open for just over three years, but the exceptional shop has earned plenty of accolades for its gorgeous, hand-crafted offerings. Coffee lovers will adore the dark chocolate covered espresso beans, and fun creations like their milk chocolate cinnamon roll truffles can practically double as breakfast in bed.

37. Best Chocolate Shop in Oregon: Woodblock Chocolate

chocolate bark with various toppings
iStock.com/digihelion

Location: Portland, Oregon

Husband-and-wife duo Charley and Jessica Wheelock founded Woodblock Chocolate to transform simple cacao beans into delectable chocolate bars. The store sells single-origin bars that come from Peru, Madagascar, and Trinidad, but the most unique option here might be the Japanese-inspired toasted sesame bar.

38. Best Chocolate Shop in Pennsylvania: Pierre's Chocolates

Location: New Hope, Pennsylvania

All of the treats at this sweet chocolaterie are handmade in-house. Swiss chocolatier Jean Pierre Meyenberg opened his eponymous shop in 1970 and ran it with his family until 2011, when the shop was purchased by chocolatiers Tom Block and Justin Zaslow. They spent more than a year learning Meyenberg's techniques and recipes, and they've added their own spin, too, creating artisan chocolates that are made in small batches from single-origin cacao grown at family farms around the world. Try the Swiss truffle, the Mint Cookie—which features dark chocolate and crushed mint cookies—or the shop's New Hope Collection, four sweet treats that pay tribute to the town's history.

39. Best Chocolate Shop in Rhode Island: Sweenor's Chocolates

Location: Wakefield and Cranston, Rhode Island

Sweenor's Chocolates first opened in 1955, and the family owned and operated chocolate shop has stayed true to its origins by focusing on fresh ingredients and eschewing preservatives. And, they offer a number of sugar-free chocolates, which are often recommended for anyone with diabetes.

40. Best Chocolate Shop in South Carolina: Christophe Artisan Chocolatier

Location: Charleston, South Carolina

Christophe Paume, a third-generation French chocolatier, founded this charming chocolate shop. Visitors to the shop's two locations in downtown Charleston and West Ashley can sample the brightly colored, hand-painted chocolates and truffles.

41. Best Chocolate Shop in South Dakota: Mostly Chocolates

Location: Rapid City, South Dakota

At Mostly Chocolates, you can sip on something strong from the espresso bar while you choose between truffles, fudge, and other gorgeous confections. You can't go wrong with the chocolate-dipped espresso creme or the Oreo cream truffle, but if you want some added fruit flavors, their truffles also come in peaches and cream, raspberry, and strawberry cheesecake.

42. Best Chocolate Shop in Tennessee: The Goo Goo Shop and Dessert Bar

The Goo Goo Cluster Shop in Nashville.
Brent Moore, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Since its debut in 1912, the Goo Goo Cluster candy bar has delighted kids and adults with its tantalizing combination of milk chocolate, peanuts, caramel, and marshmallow nougat. And you can celebrate all things Goo Goo Cluster at this shop and dessert bar, which serves chocolatey cheesecakes, sundaes, and shakes inspired by the candy bar.

43. Best Chocolate Shop in Texas: Cacao and Cardamom

box of decorated chocolates
iStock.com/digihelion

Location: Houston, Texas

Eating chocolate at Cacao and Cardamom feels like taking a food trip around the world. Stop to sample blends of flavors and spices like their Szechuan peppercorn milk chocolate ganache, garam masala pistachio, black sesame ginger, pineapple fennel caramel, lychee basil, or a caramelized cashew and Vietnamese cinnamon praline.

44. Best Chocolate Shop in Utah: Ritual Chocolate

Location: Park City, Utah

Before you come to Ritual Chocolate, you'll probably want to skip your morning cup of joe. The bean-to-bar chocolate shop serves espresso, sipping chocolate, and a 100 percent pure cacao bar that will jolt you awake with its bitter, nutty taste.

45. Best Chocolate Shop in Vermont: Daily Chocolate

Location: Vergennes, Vermont

The chocolatiers at Daily Chocolate excel at flavor experimentation. Besides the black rum caramel (house made caramel in 72 percent dark chocolate), the coconut and cherry clusters will satisfy even the strongest chocolate craving. Fans of white chocolate should try the lemon lavender almond bark, made with lavender buds and lemon oil.

46. Best Chocolate Shop in Virginia: Gearharts Fine Chocolates

Location: Charlottesville, Virginia

Launched by chefs Tim Gearhart and Bill Hamilton in 2001, Gearharts Fine Chocolates uses "the world's finest chocolate with local sweet cream and pure butter" to create its confections. The shop's signature chocolates include pistachio toffee orange, malted milk hazelnut, and mint julep (which is made with fresh mint Kentucky bourbon). The chocolates are available for purchase online.

47. Best Chocolate Shop in Washington: Oh! Chocolate

Lightly colored truffles in rows
iStock.com/kobeza

Location: Mercer Island, Washington

Since 1985, Oh! Chocolate has earned a reputation as the top chocolate destination in Washington. Chocolatiers make small batches of delightful truffles in flavors such as champagne, mango habanero, and Pacific NW blackberry.

48. Best Chocolate Shop in West Virginia: Holl's Chocolates

Location: Vienna and Charleston, West Virginia

Before immigrating to the United States in 1958, Fritz Holl worked as an apprentice to his uncle in a pastry and chocolate shop in Zurich, Switzerland. Today, Holl's Chocolates—the company he founded in 1986—is still family-owned (Fritz's son, Dominique, runs it with his wife, Michelle) and still sells authentic Swiss chocolate. The store's chocolate lollipops (which come in milk, dark, and white chocolate varieties) are melt-in-your-mouth spectacular.

49. Best Chocolate Shop in Wisconsin: Wilmar Chocolates

Location: Appleton, Wisconsin

Chocoholics rejoice in the staggering selection of chocolate covered caramels, truffles, and butter toffee at Wilmar Chocolates. The shop's confections, which are made with authentic Wisconsin butter and cream, regularly win awards at the Wisconsin State Fair.

50. Best Chocolate Shop in Wyoming: Donells Candies

Location: Casper, Wyoming

Donells Candies has been a Wyoming staple since 1956, selling handcrafted confections such as dark chocolate cherry cordials and milk chocolate coconut clusters. Nut lovers rave about the dark chocolate peanut and pecan clusters.

How 25 of Your Favorite Halloween Candies Got Their Names

iStock/mediaphotos
iStock/mediaphotos

Soon, small superheroes and ghosts and all sorts of other strange creatures will be canvassing your neighborhood begging for candy. But as you pass out your wares, you can also dole out some (not terribly spooky) etymologies.

1. 3 MUSKETEERS

3 Musketeers candy bar.
Erin McCarthy

When 3 Musketeers bars were introduced in 1932, they consisted of three flavors—chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry—and were labeled "The 3 Musketeers, Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry. 3 bars in a package.' Eventually the vanilla and strawberry flavors would disappear, although there’s evidence that they weren't ever particularly important flavors. A 1933 Notice of Judgment from the Acting Secretary of Agriculture describes a shipment of the treats that was seized in part because "[t]he strawberry and vanilla bars had no recognizable flavor of strawberry or vanilla and the strawberry bars were also artificially colored."

2. AIRHEADS

Pile of AirHeads candy.
Jasmin Fine, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

According to Steve Bruner, who invented the name, he had heard that it takes a generation for a candy name to become part of the collective consciousness—unless it was already a commonly used word. So he asked his children, "What would you call your friend who did something silly?" and one of them came up with 'Airhead.'

3. BUTTERFINGER

Three Butterfinger candy bars.
Amira Azarcon, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

According to legend, the Curtiss Candy Company of Chicago decided to run a contest to name their new candy bar, and someone suggested 'butterfinger,' a term used in the form "butter-fingered" since the early 17th century to describe someone who lets things fall from their hands.

4. CANDY CORN

Jack-o-lantern mug full of candy corn.
iStock

In the late 19th century, confections shaped like other things were all the rage (the Candy Professor tells of children then eating candies shaped like cockroaches … for Christmas). Candy corn was invented around this time, and was a stand-out novelty product because real corn kernels—which the candy vaguely resembled—were then mainly a food for livestock, not people.

5. DUM DUMS

Jar of Dum Dums lollipops.
Sarah Browning, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

According to the Spangler Candy Company, the manufacturer, the name Dum Dum was chosen because it "was a word any child could say."

6. HEATH BAR

Two Heath candy bars.
Erika Berlin

In 1914, L.S. Heath decided to buy a candy shop and soda fountain so his children could have a good career. Several years later, the family got hold of the toffee recipe (potential sources range from a traveling salesman to nearby Greek candy makers) that made them famous, especially after they started supplying candy to troops during WWII.

7. HERSHEY'S

Hershey's chocolate bars in a basket.
slgckgc, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Milton Hershey had worked for a few years in various candy businesses, but it was in Denver that he came across the caramel recipe that would become a massive hit. Not resting on his laurels, he learned of the new European craze for "milk chocolate" and brought it to the masses in America.

8. HERSHEY'S COOKIES 'N' CREME

Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme candy bar.
Like_the_Grand_Canyon, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

The candy bar came about in 1994, somewhere around 15-20 years after the ice cream flavor that it was capitalizing on. Where the ice cream comes from is a mystery—claimants range from South Dakota State University to a Blue Bell Creameries employee (to make matters more difficult, many versions of the story have the invention happening after a visit to some anonymous ice cream parlor that put Oreos on their ice cream, and as early as 1959 Nabisco was suggesting that crumbled Oreos in-between layers of ice cream made a great party parfait). No matter the culinary origin, the name origin is generally agreed upon—Nabisco balked at allowing ice cream companies to use their Oreo trademark.

9. HERSHEY'S KISSES

Hershey Kisses on an orange table.
Song Zhen, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Over 100 years ago, kiss was a generic term for any number of small pieces of confectionery. So when Hershey came out with their product, it was a natural generic name. As years went by and "kiss" lost this particular meaning, Hershey was able to assert control over the name.

10. JOLLY RANCHERS

Bowl of Jolly Rancher candies.
Thomas Hawk, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

When William and Dorothy Harmsen set out to Colorado, their goal was to start a small farm/ranch. Eventually, they decided to open up an ice cream parlor named The Jolly Rancher, evoking both Western hospitality and the Jolly Miller—a hotel in their native Minnesota. The story goes that as sales declined in the winter months, the Harmsens decided to add candies to their menu, which soon outstripped the popularity of all their other offerings.

11. KIT KAT

No one is quite sure where this comes from. The oldest use of the word "kit-cat" in the Oxford English Dictionary is from 1665 to describe a game more commonly known as tipcat, but this is probably coincidence. More likely is that it’s somehow related to the Kit-Cat Club of the early 18th century, which met at a place operated by a mutton pieman named something like Christopher Katt or Christopher Catling. Both he and his pies were named Kit-Kats/Kit-Cats (the prologue to the 1700 play The Reformed Wife even has a line "A Kit-Cat is a supper for a lord"), and the club took its name from either the pie or the pieman.

The jump from a gentleman's club or mutton pie to a candy is more mysterious. A popular theory is that it's related to kit-cat pictures, a type of portrait that the OED describes as "less than half-length, but [includes] the hands." But like most other hypotheses, this doesn't really work because the producer, Rowntree's, registered the name years before there was a candy to go with it, and the candy was originally known as Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp. Most likely is that someone just liked the name.

12. LIFE SAVERS

Pile of Life Savers candies.
Erika Berlin

The name Life Savers is fairly self-explanatory—they're broadly shaped like a life saver. (Any rumors of the hole existing to prevent a choking death have no merit.)

13. MILKY WAY

Milky Way candy bar.
Like_the_Grand_Canyon, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Before 1970, Milky Way had a very different connotation. That year, headlines in newspapers across the country blared "FTC Decides Candy Bar Isn't Equal to Milk." The reason for this headline is that the FTC criticized Mars for implying in their advertising things like "Milky Way's nutritional value is equivalent to a glass of milk" and 'That it can and should be substituted for milk." (Odd nutrition claims were nothing new though—early on, Hershey’s advertised their chocolate bars as being "more sustaining than meat.")

While the galaxy certainly helped with the name, the original focus of the Milky Way was about how "milky" it was, and specifically that it was milkier than a malted milk you could get at a soda fountain.

14. M&M's

Bag of opened M&Ms.
iStock

The two Ms stand for Mars and Murrie. This Mars was Forrest Mars, the son of Mars candy company founder Frank Mars. Forrest and Frank had a falling out, which resulted in Forrest going to Europe and founding his own candy company (many years later, he would return to take over Mars, Inc after his father's death).

How he came up with the idea for M&M's is a bit mysterious (with versions ranging from wholesale ripoff to inspiration during the Spanish Civil War), but is generally related to a candy-covered British chocolate called Smarties (unrelated to the American Smarties). When Forrest Mars returned to the United States to make these candies, he recognized that he needed a steady supply of chocolate. At the time, Hershey was a major supplier of chocolate to other businesses and was run by a man named William Murrie. Forrest decided to go into business with William's son, Bruce (which long rumored to be a shameless ploy by Forrest to ensure a chocolate supply during World War II), and they named the candy M&M's.

15. MR. GOODBAR

Bowl of Mr. Goodbar candy bars.
Erika Berlin

According to corporate history, Hershey chemists had been working on a new peanut candy bar. As they were testing it, someone said "that's a good bar" which Milton Hershey misheard as "Mr. Goodbar."

16. REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER CUPS

Stack of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
Sheila Sund, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Harry Burnett Reese started working for the Hershey Chocolate Company in 1916 as a dairy farmer, but after leaving and returning to Hershey's a few times over the following years, Reese set out on his own. His great peanut butter cup invention was supposedly inspired by a store owner who told him that they were having difficulties with their supplier of chocolate-covered peanut butter sweets.

17. SKITTLES

Bags of Skittles in a vending machine.
calvinnivlac, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Skittles originated in the United Kingdom, where "skittles" is a type of bowling, either on lawns or on a tabletop in pubs. The phrase "beer and skittles" emerged to describe pure happiness (now more commonly seen in "life is not beer and skittles"). So the name for the candy likely emerged to associate it with fun.

18. SNICKERS

Bunch of Snickers fun size candies.
iStock

The candy bar was named after the Mars family horse. The Mars family was very into horses, even naming their farm the Milky Way Farm—which produced the 1940 Kentucky Derby champion Gallahadion.

19. SOUR PATCH KIDS

Two bags of Sour Patch Kids.
Mike Mozart, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Originally called Mars Men, the Sour Patch Kid was renamed to capitalize on the popularity of the '80s craze of Cabbage Patch Kids.

20. TOBLERONE

Close-up of a Toblerone candy bar.
Helena Eriksson, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Toblerone is a portmanteau of the candy inventor—Theodor Tobler—and torrone, a name for various Italian nougats. As for the distinctive triangle shape, it's generally credited to the Swiss Alps, but Toblerone’s UK site suggests something a little racier—"a red and cream-frilled line of dancers at the Folies Bergères in Paris, forming a shapely pyramid at the end of a show.”

21. TOOTSIE ROLL

Pile of Tootsie Roll candies.
Lynn Friedman, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The official story is that in the late 19th century, Leo Hirschfeld invented the Tootsie Roll—Tootsie coming from his daughter's nickname. But the Candy Professor has blown multiple holes in the official story, finding evidence from patents to trademark filings that show Tootsie Rolls came into existence circa 1907. And as for the Tootsie? The Candy Professor has also found that the company that applied for those trademarks had an earlier product called Bromangelon that had as a mascot the character "Tattling Tootsie." Whether this Tootsie was named after Hirschfeld’s daughter or something mysterious is still debated.

22. TWIX

Twix candy bar.
iStock

The meaning behind Twix has been lost to time (and marketing). But the general consensus is that it's a portmanteau of twin and sticks (stix), or possibly twin and mix.

23. TWIZZLERS

Bag of Twizzlers candy.
iStock

Another term where the true origin is unknown, but it’s certainly related to the word twizzle, which dates back to the 18th century. One of the definitions the Oxford English Dictionary gives is "To twirl, twist; to turn round; to form by twisting."

24. YORK PEPPERMINT PATTIES

Two York Peppermint Patties
Barb Watson, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

The popular patties were originally created by the York Cone Company out of York, Pennsylvania, which made ice cream cones before going all in on their new invention. As for the "Peanuts" character Peppermint Patty, Charles Schulz said that the name inspiration was "A dish of candy sitting in our living room." But as the York version was still regional at the time, the inspiration was probably a different peppermint patty.

25. BABY RUTH

Pile of Baby Ruth mini candy bars.
Erika Berlin

A debate for the ages. Otto Schnering named the bar after either Ruth Cleveland, daughter of President Grover Cleveland (whose New York Times obituary said, "She was known to the Nation as 'Baby Ruth' while she was a child in the White House") or Babe Ruth, the famous baseball player. While Baby Ruth was a very popular name (and not just for Presidential daughters. An actress at the time of the candy bar’s introduction was known as "Baby" Ruth Sullivan), Babe Ruth proponents point out that Cleveland’s daughter died in 1904, around 17 years before the candy was introduced. But claims of a recently discovered court document has Schnering answering under oath the question "When you adopted the trade mark Baby Ruth…did you at that time [take] into consideration any value that the nickname Babe Ruth…might have?”

Schnering responded, "The bar was named for Baby Ruth, the first baby of the White House, Cleveland, dating back to the Cleveland administration…There was a suggestion, at the time, that Babe Ruth, however not a big figure at the time as he later developed to be, might have possibilities of developing in such a way as to help our merchandising of our bar Baby Ruth."

The Reason White Castle Slider Burgers Have Five Holes

White Castle
White Castle

While it’s not often mentioned in conversations about the best fast food burger on the menu alongside staples like Shake Shack or In-N-Out, the White Castle slider burger still holds a special place in the stomachs of those who enjoy their bite-sized convenience. In 2014, TIME even named the slider the most influential burger of all time, with its debut in 1921 helping begin our nation’s obsession with fast-service burgers.

Peel the bun off a White Castle burger and you’ll find the square meat patty has exactly five holes. Why? Thrillist writer Wil Fulton went looking for an answer to this gastronomic mystery. It turns out that the holes serve a very functional purpose.

In 1954, a Cincinnati-based White Castle employee named Earl Howell stuffed his location’s suggestion box with a note that said the patties might cook more quickly if they were pierced. The reason? The franchise steams its burgers on the grill, and the holes allow the steam to better penetrate the stacks of patties (usually 30 burgers tall) that are piled on the grill at one time. No one has to flip the burgers, and they wind up coming out of the kitchen faster. The steam also picks up the flavor of the onion acting as a bottom layer, allowing it to spread through the stack.

Howell’s idea soon spread from Ohio to White Castle restaurants nationwide. The company facilitates the creation of the holes by puncturing a “meat log” and then slicing it and sending the patties to locations.

If you enjoy their distinctive flavor, the holes have a lot to do with it. Enjoy.

[h/t Thrillist]

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