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Valentine’s Day Best Kept Secret

cup o candy

Spicy hot cinnamon bears

For years now I’ve been faithfully going to a little chocolate & candy shop in Madison. I don’t remember how I discovered it, but I was hooked once I did.  It reminds me of old fashioned shops I went to as a kid and they still do things that old fashioned way here today.


Champagne bubbles & sour peach hearts

Their candies fill vintage jars all over my home year round and their dark chocolate nonpareils and divine pastel cherries were carefully tucked into brown craft paper boxes, tied with orange raffia and sent home with all the guests at our wedding 13 years ago.

It is probably not the one you think.  And it’s probably not your second guess either. It’s James J Chocolate Shop. They are in a little unassuming spot squeezed between an acupuncture clinic and Mexican restaurant (what??) in a strip mall just off of HWY 12/18 as you exist onto Midvale. They are easy to miss, but should not be!  Madison is filled with wonderful chocolatiers, caramel, toffee and truffle makers for sure.  I love them all, but they get lots of attention. James J doesn’t seem to.  Maybe they are so busy they don’t need to advertise?  I hope so.  What James J does that is different and I love so much is the art and science of pulled sugar confection.

They still make their own candy canes, hard candy and pulled Valentine’s Day hearts!!2 hearts JamesJ






Who knew something so charming even existed!? There chocolates and mints are hand made too of course.

Step inside the shop and you will be transported back to a day when your Dad or Grandma took you by the hand to the handmade candy store in your home town.  Apothecary jars glisten with treasures, the candy cases are full of chocolates and the room smells of the giant roasted nuts they always have available!  James J also carries beautiful, delicious and clever bulk candy year round and for the seasons.  I love their sour jelly pumpkins at Halloween, sweet Sugar plums at Christmas, spicy cinnamon bears at Valentines and champagne “bubbles” for New Year’s Eve.

candy 2

Pastel cherries, cherry gummy brains, raspberry & blackberries

This Valentines they also had gummy cherry brains…for your favorite zombie valentine?  My husband, the nerd, is getting some of those with a note that says, “I love more than just your brain.”

If you have yet to get your Valentine that special something, stop in tomorrow or go soon to see what’s wonderful things will be springing up for Easter.  There really is something special about the place and this old fashioned art and we should keep it alive!

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