In 1928, two women who shared a home in Davenport enjoyed entertaining guests in their tearoom with homemade citrus candies. Little did they know a masterpiece was created that is still in production today. These women opened “The Sun Dial Sunnyland Citrus Candies” to make a profit off their special talent. Soon after, in 1933, C.S. Taylor took over their factory, changing the name to “Taylor's Tropical Sweets.”
From peanut brittle and hand-dipped gourmet chocolates, to the popular citrus candies, Webb’s Candy Shop has everything necessary to satisfy your sweet tooth!
Shifting the story up North, in western New York there was a candy store named Webb’s Candy Shop. Like many others, the owner of this shop, Mr. Paul Webb, took the snowbird path and found himself and his family in sunny Florida. To tie-up this mini story, Paul Webb became friends with C. S. Taylor, and when Mr. Taylor passed, Paul Webb purchased his shop and combined his own recipes with Mr. Taylors’ to create Webb’s Candy Shop. The rest is history!
The Chocolate Factory
We were lucky enough to score a behind the scenes tour escorted by R.J., Paul Webb’s grandson, who showed us around the factory's pristine kitchen, giving us an up-close glimpse of where the magic happens.
The room most tantalizing to our senses was the “chocolate room” which smelled of chocolate heaven. Here, they dip delicious goodness into melted gourmet chocolate- and the coolest part: the original chocolate barrel, dating back to the early-1900's, is still in use! Other equipment, like the copper kettles and nougat mixer, are original pieces also dating back to before the 1920's. So retro.
Upon entering, we were overwhelmed by the welcoming, family-first environment, before the front door even closed behind us. Webb’s Candies treats each customer as one of their own. You know it is a great company when a certain staff member has been loving her job since 1976.
Sugar, Spice & Everything Nice
After learning the techniques behind creating famous candies and chocolates, we had to try some for ourselves. We sampled the chocolate covered potato chips, orange with pecan citrus candies, and R.J.’s favorite, the milk chocolate frog- all to die for, of course. Ice cream, along with the majority of the sweet treats, is homemade in-shop. A sugar-free alternative is cooked-up for many of the goodies due to Mr. Webbs’ battle between his sweet tooth and his sugar intake.
Gourmet chocolate, candies, and ice cream are definitely not the extent of Webb's inventory. Honey, salt-water taffy, hundreds of knick-knacks, collectible dolls, Florida mementos, seasonal gifts, stuffed animals for the young visitors, and more is up for grabs. Interested in local wines? Popular fruit and veggie wines of all kinds are also available for purchase. Refreshing flavors include Strawberry Blush, 40 Karat Carrot Wine, Florida Grapefruit, Key Lime, Orange Sunshine, and much too many more to list!
Just Down the Street
After enjoying Webb’s famous candies, continue on your sugar high by trying an award-winning Grapefruit pie at Taste of Florida Café at Lang’s Sun County Groves. You can also take a tour of Ridge Island Groves if you wish to experience Florida citrus production at its finest! Ridge Island Groves offers pick-your-own fruit and free samples of freshly squeezed juices. Last, close by Webb’s Candies sits Central Florida's Visitor Information Center. Here you can check out the Florida Sports Hall of Fame, purchase discounted attraction tickets, or simply view special Florida-themed displays.