April 21, 2016
Hiking Tunnel Mountain is fine, slogging up Rundle is good, but if you really want to know; the sweetest hike around Banff is right in the middle of town. It just so happens there is an incredible collection of fudgerys, chocolate and candy shops on Banff Avenue, just waiting for you to indulge. I call it the “Sweet Treat Trek” and while your legs won’t get a workout, your tastebuds will!
Sweet Stop #1 - The Fudgery
The Sweet Treat Trek starts at The Fudgery at the north end of Banff Ave. Walk in the front door and drink in the wave of chocolate and caramel that hits your senses. It’s enough to make you stick out your tongue to lick the air. Fudge, chocolate and creamy caramel creations are The Fudgery’s specialty. You can spend minutes debating over peanut butter fudge versus turtle fudge or just save yourself the time and buy them both. On your way out, grab a picture with the big stuffed bear at the entrance then duck back out to Banff Ave because we’ve only just started the Trek! I recommend: Cashew Log - thick, creamy marshmallow dunked into a wonderfully smooth caramel then covered with crunchy cashews… all on a stick for mess free eating!
Put down the bear spray! The friendly bear at The Fudgery just wants you to enjoy your treats.
Sweet Stop #2 - Banff Sweet Shoppe
Just a few steps further down Banff Ave is the aptly named Banff Sweet Shoppe. This busy store is modeled after a traditional British candy store and even has a miniature train making rounds along the ceiling. There’s a huge variety of candies here, from candied crickets to gummy alligators and even an entire aisle dedicated to maple flavoured treats. But the highlights of the Banff Sweet Shoppe have to be the massive Pez collection at the back of the store and the many jars of taffy. I recommend: the salted caramel taffy tastes like wrapping your tongue in a blanket of awesome.
A model train circles the ceiling at Banff Sweet Shoppe. All aboard The Candy Express!
Sweet Stop #3 - Mountain Chocolates
From the Banff Sweet Shoppe, cross Banff Avenue at Caribou Street and feast your eyes on Mountain Chocolates. After the kaleidoscope of colours and variety at Banff Sweet Shoppe, Mountain Chocolates' simple layout is a welcome respite. Candied popcorn, exquisite chocolate, velvety fudge and candied apples as red as winter cheeks fill the glass covered displays (try not to drool on the glass). I recommend: The “Murtle.” I can only assume the name is a combination of “massive” and “turtle” because that describes this treat perfectly. It’s similar to the Turtles chocolate you buy for in-laws at Christmas, only this is the Galapagos version. They’re huge!
Ben from Byron Bay is happy to brighten your day with a candy apple.
Sweet Stop #4 - Welch's Chocolate Shop
Continue south on Banff Ave and fight the urge to stop at Cows Ice Cream. It’s great ice cream but this is the Sweet Treat Trek, not the Great Ice Cream Trek. That one’s for another day and another blog. A few more steps and you’ll see Welch's Chocolate Shop. Welch's has been around since 1965 and for long-time customers, the nostalgia is almost as good as the candy. What sets Welch's apart is the tradition and service. If you ask for a candy that’s not in stock, they’ll do their best to make sure it gets ordered in on the next shipment. After nearly 50 years of candy requests, you can imagine what a variety they have in store! I recommend: they’ve got a turkish delight selection that would make Edmund Pevensie green with envy (if you know your Chronicles of Narnia). And if you want to get a good laugh, give a Mega Sour to a friend and watch their face pucker inside out!
The staff at Welchs’ Chocolate Shop are the icing on top!
Sweet Stop #5 - Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut
Time to wrap this up! From Welch's, cross the street and walk a little further south on Banff Ave. Head inside Harmony Mall and you’ll find Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut. Bernard Callebaut is a nationwide chain out of nearby Calgary and is about as good as it gets for a chocolate connoisseur. There’s a wonderful variety of loose chocolates, from peanut butter and jelly to mango peppercorn. And if you’re heading out on a mountain trek, the chocolate covered coffee beans are sure to give you the boost you need to conquer any peak. I recommend: there’s a selection of truffles so delicious that true connoisseurs would describe it as “sinful.”