Candy? In Gatlinburg? No, really?
I know. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist–or much research at all–to figure out that Gatlinburg is pretty loaded when it comes to sugar content, especially downtown on the Parkway. I have a sweet tooth and–like many people who are on vacation–love to indulge in a little of life’s sweet pleasures: chocolate, fudge, taffy; all of which are abundantly displayed in the many shops that line the Parkway, making for a very carnival-like atmosphere. I have managed to whittle down the candy shops, somehow, with my three favorite candy shops in Gatlinburg. Now I admit, I haven’t tried every single one of them, but I have a good idea–after about 12 trips here–which ones I recommend to people who haven’t had a chance to visit this magical place. Here goes.
3. Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen
With two locations on the Parkway, you can see why they are a hit with tourists. They are most famous for their taffy puller located in the front that invites walkers to stop in the window to see how taffy is made. This has been going on for about 70 years so this is more proof they are doing something right here. I think their taffy is pretty good, but it’s not my favorite. I was impressed by their seemingly unlimited chocolate options–my favorites being the different truffles they make which have a nice chocolate shell covering a ganache center sweetened with different flavors: caramel, maple praline, and peanut butter just to name a few. Their selection is probably the best in Gatlinburg, and they also sell souvenir bears and package quite a bit of their treats that make their way here after they are displayed in the glass cases. Rarely can you find a place that has lasted as long as they have, so make sure to check them out on your visit.
2. Aunt Mahalia’s
Billed as having The Best Homemade Candies On Earth, I wouldn’t argue this claim for one second. They also have two locations: one at the Mountain Mall, and another on the opposite side of the Parkway. Aunt Mahalia’s has operated in Gatlinburg since 1939. You can do the math; that’s a long time. I have found that while their selection is not as impressive as Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen, the quality here is a shade better. It is also important to note that they are slightly more expensive, but that just means they might be using better ingredients (I have no knowledge of what they use, but they just taste a little better to me). Aunt Mahalia’s packages more of their candies, as their glass cases are smaller, but that doesn’t sacrifice the quality of their products: fudge, caramel apples, peanut brittle, taffy, and pecan nests. The latter is one of my favorites; if you are a fan of pecans, you need to try everything they offer with pecans in them–all very tasty. Heck, I tried a sampler package, and I found a few gems in there that I had no idea what they were, but to me, those were some of the best tasting treats I’d ever tried. If you’re not afraid of their slightly higher prices–remembering you’re on vacation–you need to at least give them a shot.
1. Chocolate Monkey
What’s great about Chocolate Monkey is I don’t have to spend much time deciding what I want here. They have the poorest selection of the three, but they are a clear winner in several different categories: best ice cream, and best fudge. Their selection of fudge and ice cream is pretty darn good, and even though the ice cream is Blue Bell, it is simply amazing. Plus, they rotate their selection to sync with the seasons, including their fudge offerings. With their homemade fudge, they always offer a buy 2, get 1 free, and it is the smoothest, creamiest, and best tasting of all the fudge in Gatlinburg. Most other fudge places in town either keeps their fudge in the case too long or don’t use the perfect combination of ingredients; Chocolate Monkey succeeds at providing a superior product, despite having a handful of locations now–but still not considered a chain in my book. They also have caramel apples, buckeyes (O-H!), and a modest variety of chocolate treats that are simply mouth-watering. My wife’s favorite fudge is Monkey Butter–taste it for free in the store to see why it’s a favorite of hers and many others.
That is my definitive list of the best candy shops in Gatlinburg. Of course, this could change with forthcoming visits, but I believe Chocolate Monkey has a firm hold on this list for quite some time. Hopefully, you’ve gained a little knowledge of where you would like to try some of the best candy concoctions in the candy land of Gatlinburg. Thanks for stopping by a reading this post! If you like it, you can search other articles on my blog for more ideas. See you all again soon!