A shelf of Papabubble candies. [Photo: Plenty of Colour]
Hayes Valley could already be called SF's dessert gulch, with Smitten Ice Cream, Hayes Valley Bakeworks, Schulzie's Bread Pudding, Miette, Chantal Guillon, Christopher Elbow Chocolates, and La Boulange all in a two-block radius. Now, another business is on its way to sweeten things further: SF is getting its first location of Papabubble, a Spanish candy chain, later this year, according to a report from Hayeswire. We got in touch with the franchisees, Drew Lightfoot and Dean Hsieh; Hsieh worked for Papabubble in Taiwan for many years, and decided to open up his own here in the city with Lightfoot. The duo snapped up a former sewing-machine shop for their store, and are already hard at work getting things ready.
Papabubble has 20 locations worldwide (New York and L.A. are the other U.S. outlets). They're known for making hard candies by hand in the store, with intricate designs and flavors ranging from the simple (raspberry, lemon, passionfruit) to the exotic (pear-bergamot, grapefruit-basil, watermelon-salt-chili). Lollipops and candy rings are also part of the offering. Like the other locations, Papabubble SF will have onsite candymakers twisting and cutting logs of candy into the final design; Serious Eats has a photo tour of the process at the NYC location, for those who want a sense of what that might look like.
The space is small, at 900 square feet, and will center around a half-wall glass partition looking into the candy kitchen. There are still some permitting hoops to jump through, but Lightfoot says they hope to open in November or December, and he's also looking to partner with some as-yet-undetermined restaurants and retail shops to make custom-designed candy.