Alethea’s | Buffalo New York is America’s Best Candy City

Review by: Michael Stern

Attention, Chocoholics!

Dean Tassy’s great-grandmother Alethea made chocolates in Greece, her homeland. Today, the store named for her stands as one of the best candy sources in Buffalo, New York — America’s best candy city. Choosing which confection to eat at Alethea’s presents a delicious challenge. Bon-bons and barks, truffles and turtles, and the great Buffalo treat, sponge candy, all vie for attention.

“I am an extremist,” Mr. Tassy told us. “When it comes to chocolate, we have some of the darkest dark in the country. And the lightest light. Good chocolate must have real cocoa butter. NOT palm kernel oil like most of your chocolate wafers.” One bite provides assurance that Alethea’s is the real thing. The dark tastes more potent than intense espresso.

Buffalo’s Own Charlie Chaplin

Mr. Tassy wraps dark chocolate or creamy milk chocolate around some of Alethea’s homemade marshmallow. He then adds toasted bits of coconut and cashews. He has created the configuration that Buffalonians know as a Charlie Chaplin. You’ll find Charlie Chaplins nowhere other than in Buffalo. How they got their name puzzles candy historians. Tassy told us the generally accepted story: silent film comedian ate the combo every chance he got. But nobody knows why it was put together in the first place, or by whom. Nor has anyone been able to say how it became a signature of candy stores only in Buffalo.

Superior Sundaes

Like several of the other top candy shops in America’s best candy city, Alethea’s also serves ice cream. In the world of ice cream parlors, Althea’s stands among the very best. Even an everyday hot fudge sundae topped with devilishly chocolaty hot fudge leaves everyday sundaes from anywhere else in the dust. Here you can eat ice cream topped with truffled hot fudge, dark-amber caramel sauce, or marshmallow topping. All, of course, are freshly made, right here. Even well-salted, toasted nuts to adorn sundaes dazzle the palate: so fresh, so crunchy! Have a classic “Mexicano” (chocolate sauce and Spanish peanuts). Spoon into a Delphi Maiden of chocolate chip and coffee ice cream topped with marshmallow, chocolate sauce, and toasted almonds.

For a treat unique to Buffalo, consider a sponge candy sundae. That crowns ice cream with large chunks of Buffalo’s signature candy, then tops the dish with whipped cream. Freshly whipped cream, of course.

What To Eat

Sponge Candy

Charlie Chaplin

Chocolate Covered Ginger

Hot Fudge Sundae

Marshmallow Sauce

Mint Drizzle Sundae


Sponge Candy Sundae


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