Sponge Candy Trail

There are several theories on how sponge candy became one of Buffalo’s many claims to fame. One thing is for certain – there’s a ton of BuffaLove for the airy, crunchy-yet-creamy, sweet confection that Buffalonians have called their own since the early 1900s. So much love, in fact, that there’s even a National Sponge Candy Day celebrated annually in Buffalo on September 21.

What makes up this sweet treat, on the surface, seems pretty simple – caramelized sugar spun into a light, airy honeycomb and covered in melted chocolate. But take a deeper dive into the sponge candy realm and you’ll soon realize that each chocolatier takes an incredible amount of time and care in perfecting their recipes. From the actual sponge-making to secret chocolate recipes, to hand vs. machine-dipped, there are distinct methods to the deliciousness.

It seems like you can find sponge candy in retailers on nearly every Western New York corner but here are several that do it really well:

Sponge Candy from Mikes Candies

Candy making recipes have been passed down through the generations at Alethea’s Chocolates, going back to the days when owner Dean Tassy’s great-grandmother Alethea made confectionery treats in her hometown of Kozani, Greece. His father, Gust, got into the chocolate making business in Buffalo in the 1960s and remained involved for most of his 103-year-old long life. And now Dean carries on those traditions, ensuring that the sponge candy Alethea’s sells is of the highest quality – right down to the letter “A” that staff hand-carve into every piece of chocolate in honor of his great-grandmother. Alethea’s has been operating inside a converted estate and adjacent on-site chocolate factory on the outskirts of Williamsville since 1985, and also features an ice cream parlor that serves a host of homemade toppings.

Sponge candy being coated in chocolate

For more than a century, Antoinette’s Sweets has built a delicious legacy of treats. The old-fashioned candy shop and ice cream parlor prides itself on tradition and quality. From the homemade sundaes served in metal dishes, to the glass cases filled with chocolate treats, a visit to Antoinette’s is like stepping back in time. And their signature sponge candy keeps customers coming back. Offering two simple varieties –  milk chocolate and dark chocolate – Antoinette’s maintains the old adage of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” For the chocolate lovers out there, you’ll be glad to know Antoinette’s chocolate coating around the sponge is thicker than most.

Did Fowler’s serve Buffalo’s first version of sponge candy? This iconic Buffalo chocolatier began all the way back in 1901, when founder Joseph Fowler first began selling candies at Buffalo’s Pan-American Exposition after living in Great Britain and Canada. Fowler’s has billed its sponge candy as the “original and authentic” version of the treat; the company worked with Buffalo’s mayor to declare September 21 National Sponge Candy Day in 2015 – a date that coincides with the cooler days of autumn, ideal sponge candy making season. From sponge candy chocolate bars to sponge candy three-packs, Fowler’s serves one of the widest varieties of this delicacy.

Sponge candy from Fowler’s Chocolates

For nearly a century, a bright pink and neon sign glowing on Main Street has drawn attention to a chocolate shop unlike anywhere else in Buffalo – and beyond. That sign – “PARKSIDE CANDIES: ICE CREAM – CANDIES – LUNCHEON” points visitors inside an immaculately preserved candy shop and ice cream parlor dating back to 1927. The oval-shaped interior features ornate plasterwork on the walls and ceiling, a black-and-white tiled floor, vintage lamps, and original woodwork. Parkside’s sponge candy stands out in Buffalo’s sponge candy scene at approximately three quarters of an inch high, instead of the customary one inch, producing a greater chocolate to sponge ratio. Keep your eye out for the vintage ads on the walls promoting chocolate covered honeycomb: a name earlier generations gave to Buffalo’s signature treat.

South Buffalo prides itself on serving its own take on the city’s signature foods, from the “Smitty” style wings found at its pubs to its sponge candy “sticks” sold at its longtime neighborhood chocolate shop. Park Edge Sweet Shoppe has been a mainstay in this predominantly Irish neighborhood on the Southern edge of the city since 1948, and its sponge candy sticks are a top-seller. Park Edge swears by cutting its sponge candy into several-inch long sticks, instead of the customary cubes found elsewhere, because it’s less clumsy to pick up and eat. Don’t leave Park Edge without picking up a box of their signature peanut butter sponge candy, which is topped with a hand-whipped creamy peanut butter before it’s coated in chocolate.

Sponge candy from Park Edge Sweet Shoppe


This Williamsville institution might just be the most historic spot to pick up sponge candy in Western New York. Sweet Jenny’s makes its chocolate and dozens of flavors of homemade ice cream inside Williamsville’s historic water mill near the banks of Glen Falls, a building dating back more than two centuries that even appears on the village seal. Customers can still walk on the mill’s old wooden floorboards as they browse for sponge candy and other confections. Sweet Jenny’s uses its own blend of cacao and hand-dips every piece of milk, dark and orange chocolate sponge candy on site, ensuring some of the freshest sponge candy around.

Generations of Buffalonians have sworn by the sponge candy made at Watson’s, a Western New York classic since 1946. The shop makes three varieties of sponge candy by hand in small batches – milk, dark and orange chocolate – using Fair Trade certified cocoa. It’s a recipe dating back decades that has made Watson’s one of the most popular choices for Buffalo’s favorite sweet treat. After getting your sponge candy fix at Watson’s flagship Kenmore location, head to Anderson’s for a dish of sponge candy ice cream and Resurgence Brewing Company for a sponge candy stout; Watson’s supplies the sponge candy for each.




Alethea’s Chocolates

8301 Main Street
Buffalo, NY, 14221

(716) 633-8620


Antoinette’s Sweets

5981 Transit Road
Depew, NY, 14043

(716) 684-2376


Fowler’s Chocolates – Buffalo Office

100 River Rock Drive, Suite 102
Buffalo, NY, 14207

(716) 877-9983


Parkside Candy – Buffalo

3208 Main Street
Buffalo, NY, 14214

(716) 833-7540


Park Edge Sweet Shoppe

325 Abbott Road
Buffalo, NY, 14220

(716) 824-0228


Sweet Jenny’s Ice Cream – Williamsville Water Mill

56 East Spring Street
Williamsville, NY, 14221


Watson’s Chocolates – Kenmore

2916 Delaware Avenue
Kenmore, NY, 14217

(716) 875-1935