REVIEW To the casual consumer the difference between a genuine candy store and the checkout aisle at Walgreens is a small one. For others, however, the sweets palate is discriminatory indeed and will only be satisfied by the very best. Both can find a home at Miette Confiserie.
Walking into the store is like walking into a childhood fantasy. There are trees made of gumdrops, huge jars full of brightly colored treats of all types, and even a cotton candy machine. The staff are as sweet as the wares, and the prices for bulk candy are more than reasonable if you don't insist on stuffing yourself diabetic. Some of the chocolate bars are as expensive as $30, but they've come halfway around the world and are pretty big. On the other end of the financial spectrum, there are individual bite-size treats like caramels and torrone for as little as 25¢ a morsel.
Most important, there's a wall dedicated entirely to black licorice, which is kind of like the zany, crystal-gazing aunt of the candy family she smells good, but nobody can quite gather the courage to talk to her, because she looks a little intimidating. Miette, however, manages to demystify black licorice, making it accessible desirable, even, after you've scarfed down a few free samples.
No doubt about it, Miette accomplishes its goal of making candy even more fun than it inherently is. Willy Wonka, watch out.
MIETTE CONFISERIE Mon.Sat., 11 a.m.7 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.5 p.m. 449 Octavia, SF. (415) 626-6221, www.miette.com