I spent an extended weekend in New Jersey visiting Sister Cookie, who recently settled into her new apartment. I ate so much good food, you’d think I was training for a competitive eating contest. Although I’m not proud of my gorging, I must say, it was a delectable trip. From decadent dinners to cute candy shops and nostalgic ice cream stands, I’ve got a plethora of foodie destinations to share with you.
On Saturday, Mother Cookie, Sister Cookie, and I checked out the town of Chester, which is populated by all kinds of little shops. It’s an adorable town, one that takes you back in time with its historic charm. We had a wonderful time popping in and out of all the shops.
I was most excited to check out the candy store my sister told me about, Black River Candy Shoppe. It’s not the kind of candy store that makes their own stuff, but rather a place to purchase all kinds of vintage, rare, and hard-to-get-your-hands on candy. The shop is tiny, but loaded with candy. I was literally like a kid in a candy store as I strolled through and scoped out all the sweets.
They’ve got retro favorites like Wax Bottles, Dot Candies, and Charleston Chews; foreign confections like Cadbury bars and Kinder; and unique handmade local treats. It was overwhelming for someone with such a strong sweet tooth like myself. So much candy, so little time.
Although I could’ve eaten just about everything in the store, I made a small selection. The first was Milk Chocolate-Covered Marzipan. I’ve always wanted to try marzipan, so what better way to try it than drenched in chocolate? For those of you who’ve never had it, marzipan is made from ground almonds and sugar. If you like almond extract, then you’ll love marzipan, because that’s exactly what it tastes like. I found my chocolate-covered marzipan quite tasty (although I’m not sure why it was green). My only complaint is that it was very sugary, so it is not for people lacking a sweet tooth. I think it might’ve been better with dark chocolate to balance out that sweetness.
Next, I bought these Fudge Creams. They’re reminiscent of a chocolate truffle, but the filling is more like fudge. I loved them!
Finally, I chose an assortment of taffy. I’m not necessarily crazy for taffy, but The Black River Candy Shoppe had a smorgasbord of fun flavors that I just had to try. There were at least a few dozen choices, from which I selected Cotton Candy, Lemon Meringue, Coconut, Tiramisu, Chocolate Chip Cookie, and Frosted Cupcake. Each taffy was good and chewy, but not so much that they clamped my jaw shut. Out of all of the flavors, the Coconut was my favorite because it was undoubtedly coconutty. I was disappointed in the Chocolate Chip Cookie since it didn’t taste anything like a cookie. The Frosted Cupcake and Tiramisu, however, were spot on.
After adventuring through Chester, my family and I had dinner at Bell’s Mansion, which you can read about here. Of course, I had to cap off the night with dessert. My sister suggested going to Cliff’s, an extremely popular ice cream stand in the area that we used to frequent when I lived in Jersey as a child. I was way too young to remember going there, but it was still fun to return.
Cliff’s has so many enticing flavors it made my head spin. They didn’t just offer the classics; they also had a cornucopia of unique flavors like Butter Beer, Smurf, Grandma’s Chocolate Cake, and Cherry Pie. If I could, I would’ve tried them all, but I narrowed it down to two scoops: one scoop of Tiramisu and one scoop of Chocolate Cupcake.
The Chocolate Cupcake was described to me as chocolate ice cream, brownie pieces, and chocolate frosting. Although the ice cream had a chocolate frosting-esque flavor, there were no actual detectable swirls of frosting. That’s disappointing to me because being able to see actual frosting would’ve made it more apparent. I need that texture and visual. And although I love brownie chunks in ice cream, I was sad they weren’t actual chocolate cake pieces. Overall, it was delicious, but not what I was expecting.
The Tiramisu had similar issues. I was expecting chunks of ladyfingers, but the ice cream was homogenous with the exception of espresso chips. I understand the use of espresso chips to evoke the espresso flavor in tiramisu, but the texture wasn’t right since you wouldn’t find chips like that in actual tiramisu. The ice cream itself definitely tasted like tiramisu, and I suspect a mascarpone cheese base, but I still wish I had some ladyfingers in there.
On my last day in Jersey (which was actually an extra day since Mother Cookie decided she wasn’t ready to go home), I baked some heavenly cookies for my sister, which I will share with you soon. It’s always weird working in an unfamiliar kitchen. Plus, my sister’s kitchen is so teeny-tiny!
I enjoyed some real pizza for dinner. The pizza wasn’t thick as a pillow with a crust reminiscent of cardboard and a complete lack of toppings like the stuff I get at home; this was real, flavorful pizza. Big, foldable, thin slices covered in a generous amount of cheese and drippin’ grease. Some people might think grease is gross, but I think it’s the sign of a good pizza. That’s where all the flavor is! I don’t know why they can’t make pizza like that in CNY, but at least I can enjoy it while in NJ.
Overall, it was a tasty trip. What are your must-have foods when you travel?