This Halloween, the piles of conventional peanut butter cups and buckets of candy corn may be tempting, but several artisanal alternatives can be found throughout Southern California. Local confectioners have readied their candy thermometers and chocolate molds to create all kinds of inspired, holiday-friendly handmade sweets. From seasonal Mexican fruit candies to spicy chocolates and hand-stirred caramels, L.A. has Halloween treats both classic and innovative -- and "but it's locally made!" it the best excuse around for indulging your sweet tooth.
Hidden on First Street just south of Beverly Boulevard, Valerie Confections' seasonal offerings include chocolate stout truffles and fig & apple jam. Their Pumpkin Seed Toffee is studded with roasted pumpkin seeds, then hand dipped in bittersweet chocolate and sprinkled with smoked paprika and Durango smoked salt.
Better Than: Heath Bars
Every autumn, La Zamorana Candy Co. in East LA makes their traditional, colorful Calabaza with squash, pumpkin, lime and sugar syrup, for Dîa De Los Muertos celebrations.
Better Than: Gummies
Hot New Mexico chile powder, cumin, coriander, and oregano spice up the New Mexico Chili & Pumpkin Seed Brittle by Morning Glory.
Better Than: Trail mix (for all you healthy candy hander-outters)
Justin Chao of Le Bon Garcon learned how to make traditional caramels in France. He applies this technique when making his naturally light, orange-hued fruity Mango Passionfruit Caramels.
Better Than: Starburst
With their candy making operations and shop at the Farmers' Market at 3rd & Fairfax since 1946, Littlejohn's has had ample time to perfect their classic English toffee and caramel squares. Customers can watch through the glass as owner Michael Graves hand stirs small batches caramel.
Better Than: Almond Roca and Kraft Caramels
At Compartes in Brentwood, chocolatier Jonathan Grahm makes these spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate Skulls with single origin chocolate from South America infused with cayenne and cinnamon, then hand painted with gold glitter.
Better Than: Waxy Novelty Candy
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