Where did the Charlie Chaplin log come from? You can find it in just about every chocolate store in Buffalo, yet nobody we spoke with has a clue about where or how it originated. Sold as a candy log about the shape of a loaf of biscotti before it’s been sliced, Charlie Chaplins wrap chocolate, coconut, and cashews around a soft marshmallow filling (like Rocky Road spiked with coconut).
At Mike’s in Buffalo, the marshmallow is homemade, with texture poised between solid and flowing. The spectacular marshmallow filling is key to this Charlie Chaplin, resulting in a much lighter effect in the mouth than the appearance and weight of the loaf would suggest. Make no mistake, this is very sweet (and sticky and messy) candy, but the combination of good ingredients makes it far more than just kids’ stuff.
Sponge candy, another Buffalo favorite, is at its best here. We’ve always had mixed feelings about sponge candy. While the flavors agree with us, the candy often leaves chewy bits stuck to the teeth. At Mike’s, however, the sponge part of the candy truly does melt away on the tongue, leaving only the sweet taste of pure, homemade molasses-touched dark chocolate.
Mike’s is not a big enterprise. Unlike some of the city’s better-known chocolatiers, it has no ice cream parlor attached. It is just a neighborhood candy store, a small venue where the much-abused term homemade actually means something. In fact, the building used to be a private home and is today run by Mike’s progeny. It is not unusual to enter in the morning and find that the candy you seek will be coming from out back, where it’s made, any minute now. So forget about those bags of pre-packages sponge candy they sell at the airport and elsewhere. If you want fresh, come to Mike’s.
When you enter, display cases are to the right, and you’ll likely see large trays of just-made candy cooling on racks to the left. The chocolate scent is fairly intoxicating.