Monday, August 10, 2009

Robitaille’s Presidential Inaugural Mints & Turtles

Robitaille's Fine CandiesWhile on vacation I’m always on the prowl for the local favorites wherever I go.

I’ve been meaning to hit Robitaille’s Fine Candies in Carpenteria, CA for a few years now. They’re in a cute little seaside town just south of Santa Barbara known for its excellent beach. Of course no seaside town is complete without a candy shop. Robitaille’s makes their own fudge and some chocolates along with what they consider themselves most famous for, their Inaugural Mints.

The shop is much larger than I expected, perhaps because I thought that their 400 square foot candy kitchen included the store floor ... instead it’s a large open space that houses three full aisles of pre-packaged bulk candies.

I made a beeline for the mints and had several versions to chose from.

For over 50 years these extra creamy hand made mints have been a Santa Barbara tradition. In 1985, we were chosen “The Official Mint of the 50th Presidential Inauguration.” Today, we still specialize in the multi-colored creamy mints. Each mint is individually hand made and packaged on our premises in Santa Barbara county.

Robitaille's Inaugural MintsThey sell two different sized packages of the mints, eight ounces and four ounces ... all standing on end like little record albums. I chose a box of the classic red, white and blue ones in the smaller four ounce size.

I wasn’t quite sure what they were, since the honor of an official mint for an inauguration made them sound exotic or perhaps even unique.

It turns out they’re not. It says on the website Do not let the colors fool you. These are all made from white chocolate. Sadly that’s not quite true. Maybe it was at one time, but the ones I picked up are sugar, partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil and then some cocoa butter followed by some milk products and other things like sorbitan monostearate that sound like they don’t need to be in there. So at least there’s some white chocolate in there. (And a heavy heaping of food coloring, as you might imagine.)

Robitaille's Inaugural Mints

I admit, I was still enchanted with them. They look like glossy, patriotic tiddlywinks

Though they boast about being handmade, they’re really just little puddles of peppermint flavored white confection (see Smooth n Melty Mints) which probably taste just as good spewed out of a machine.

That said, I liked them! They’re smooth, they’ve very sweet and minty and have a good silky melt on the tongue. I appreciated that they weren’t covered with little nonpariels so at least there was something unique about them.

They come in a few different color variations - pastels, harvest colors and red, white & green for Christmas. I would probably prefer just plain white ones if I could.

Robitaille's Fine Candies

The store itself has a huge selection of other candies, something for everyone. There is a whole display of items between the fresh fudge and the house-made candy case of sugar free candies. Then there are many aisles filled with shelf after shelf of items. There’s a good selection of licorice including salted from Europe and Australian style along with German (Haribo wheels) and American version of allsorts. There were flavors and flavors of salt water taffy, lollipops the size of your head. All colors of M&Ms (in single color packages), rock candy in all colors, compressed dextrose candies (Runts, pacifiers, little stars, little daisies) and then jelly beans and all sorts of chocolate coated things like pretzels, honeycomb, marshmallows & graham crackers.

Robitaille's Fine CandiesThe prices of the candies varied and were by and large decent. Some chocolate candies were $12.95 a pound and the sugar candies were usually about $5.95 a pound with others somewhere in between. Most prepacked items were 4-8 ounces, so the choice of sizes wasn’t that great.

There were also shelves and shelves of candy favorites especially hard to find independent companies like Annabelle’s, Necco and Tootsie. No vacation destination is complete without a selection of a few dozen candy sticks, which are right up by the check out counter.

Robitaille's Dark Chocolate Turtle

One of the other items I picked up in the candy case was something I saw on their website and was even more impressed with in person. The Dark Chocolate Turtle (they also come in milk and white chocolate).

This sizable patty is 3.5 inches across and exquisitely formed in layers. A dark chocolate disk as a base, glossy caramel, then a few pecans then another dollop of dark chocolate.

The caramel had a nice pull, good chew and excellent burnt sugar & butter flavors. The dark chocolate was semisweet with good fruity & toasted flavors to go with the woodsy pecans. Some spots seemed to be mostly chocolate but the whole effect was a satisfying candy. The price was pretty decent as well, each piece was about $1.50 each and might I say they were just slightly too big for me. (I cut most of them in half and shared.)

Robitaille’s Fine Candies
900 Linden Ave
Carpinteria, CA 93013
(805) 684-9340
Hours: 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM (call to confirm)

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  4. Disneyland for Candy Bloggers
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  6. Mint Aero
Name: Inauguration Mints & Dark Chocolate Pecan Turtles
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Robitaille's Fine Candies
Place Purchased: Robitaille's (Carpenteria, CA)
Price: $4.95 & ~$1.50 each
Size: 4 ounces & ~2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 148 & unknown
Categories: White Chocolate, NutsChocolate, Caramel, Mint, United States, Shopping

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:41 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

Comments
  1. My family has been going to Carpinteria for 25 years and Robitaille’s is always one of our stops! I’ve never tried the mints but now I just might ahve to smile

    Comment by Amy on 8/10/09 at 8:10 am #
  2. Now you have to go to Chico and visit Schubert’s Ice Cream and Candy.  They’ve been making those mints for more than 70 years.  I’ve never actually been to the store, but the mints have been a staple with family and friends my whole life.  http://www.shuberts.com/

    Comment by Jen on 8/10/09 at 9:12 pm #
  3. Never been to the store, but I’ve order their chocolate/coconut haystacks (milk and dark) several times. If shipping weren’t so high, I’d probably order weekly -they’re amazing!

    Comment by Mary Ann on 8/24/09 at 12:04 am #
  4. I stopped by this store on a visit to Santa Barbara on my way to San Diego. I absolutely loved the mints! I’d definitely recommend trying more flavors, because they all taste different. I don’t like the orange ones, but the brown ones are my favorite! And the turtles were yummy. Definitely worth stopping by this place, if nothing else than for the quaint atmosphere!

    Comment by Rod Nielson on 12/17/10 at 5:37 am #

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