Craft is the name of the game in this town. Craft beer, craft cocktails. And, yes, craft candy.
Jami Curl, proprietor of Saint Cupcake, one of the city’s first and best cupcakeries, is the Portland version of Willy Wonka, spinning sugar into smoked cola gumdrops, popcorn caramels and the Platonic ideal of Starbursts — vividly hued taffies called “Dreams Come Chew.”
Curl has always been an icon of sweet experimentation. After opening her first cupcake bakery in 2005, she steadily expanded her repertoire over the years, adding an assortment of inventive treats to her lineup, like alder-smoked chocolate chip cookies and butterscotch ice cream push-ups.
In July 2013 she branched into candy with Quin, her new line of candies sold from a tiny jewel box in the Union Way alley of micro-retail shops. Quin took off like a rocket. It’s a game-changer — and now Curl has changed hers.
She closed Saint Cupcake (alas!) and let only one of the two locations live on, but under a new (quite fetching) name: Sprinklefingers. There, in the boutique-within-a-boutique (it’s tucked in the back of another favorite place of ours, a homegoods store called Noun), she sells a small selection of her fantastic baked treats, as well as the complete Quin lineup.
It’s hard to pick a favorite Quin candy. The luscious caramels have a wonderful burnt-sugar edge, the lollipops and gumdrops are bright with real flavors like cherry and tangerine. And most showcase local ingredients, particularly the Best of Oregon caramels, which have local hazelnuts, honey and salt.
We will sorely miss Saint Cupcake’s vast array of baked perfection, but we’ll happily drown our sorrows in exquisite Quin candies.
Sprinklefingers: 3300 SE Belmont Ave., Portland, OR
Quin: 1025 SW Stark St., Portland, OR