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See’s Candies was founded in Los Angeles, hometown of both my parents. So it was that even after we moved across the continent, See’s remained an indispensable holiday treat, mailed by my grandmother every Christmas and eagerly awaited.

One of my aunts worked at See’s as a young woman, and when she started, she was told to sample as many chocolates as she wanted, and to try every kind they sold. Apparently most employees ate themselves sick and never wanted to pilfer the merchandise after that, but in the process they learned all the different flavors.

It is a good thing for See’s that the Long-Suffering Husband, he of the empty honey jars, never worked there. He would have bankrupted them.

See’s chocolates are dominated by the flavors and aromas of caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, and butterscotch, enrobed in good chocolate. The milk and dark “Bordeaux” are creamy brown sugar, while the “Butterscotch” center is deliciously grainy and addictive. I have devoured entire boxes of “Butterscotch” pieces, thanks to the Custom Box option. They also have more newfangled truffles in vivid fruit flavors (blueberry, lemon, raspberry, pineapple, apple pie) which are quite pleasing. Not to mention enticing and classic American confections such as Molasses Chip, California Brittle, Milk Butterchew, Apricot Delight, and the ever-desirable Walnut Roll. There’s not a hazelnut in sight, and yet the selection seems just right. What I love most about See’s is that they always taste amazingly fresh, as though they are truly “homemade” according to Mrs. See’s recipes.


The best flavor: Butterscotch (bottom row, center).