We spoke with Brandy Valdez, owner of B. Candy in Corona Del Mar to see how a working mother of four balances family life and the successful candy and ice cream business featured in June’s “Inside Scoop” photo essay.
How did you get your start?
I’ve always been a fan of the film “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.” When my son came come home from school with a project that said, “If I had one wish it would be … to live in a candy world.” I knew I had to make this dream a reality.
What were you envisioning when you started this project?
I envisioned creating a real-life candy land. And I wanted a place that our whole family could be a part of, and potentially work at. My kids had a choice—to go to work with dad at the dentist office or with me at the candy store. I think I won.
Do you have a background in culinary arts or are you self-taught?
I am self-taught. My daughter and I have always enjoyed making treats in the kitchen and experimenting with different recipes. For the store, we perfected our signature B.Candy recipes with the help of our long-time family friend and baker extraordinaire, Momma J.
What is the creative process for you?
A lot of the flavors we think of come to us as random aha moments. We were sitting around the kitchen table chatting about how my girlfriend’s husband loves dipping potato chips in ice cream and we thought what if we dipped potato chips into chocolate and made an ice cream with them. This is what is now known as our Chocolate Covered Potato Chips & Caramel ice cream and is undoubtedly one of our most popular flavors!
Have any of your test flavors turned out to be duds?
The only one we haven’t quite perfected yet, of those that we’ve attempted, is peaches ’n cream. Something about it was off! We will definitely give it another shot at some point.
How long after opening did you start making ice cream?
We have always had ice cream at our current CdM location. When we had our tiny little shop down the way we only carried candy and toys but lacked our baked goods and ice cream.
What is your favorite of the treats that you make?
That’s a hard one. I would have to say my absolute favorite is our Rainbow Cakes. They’re what I want for every single one of my birthdays.
How often do you make batches of ice cream? Are the flavors rotating?
Every single day. We go through a lot of ice cream. We try to have our most popular flavors in all the time, but there are just so many good ones that we have to rotate them in and out.
Do you think about making your ice cream available anywhere else?
In the past, we have actually produced ice cream for another sweet shop. The spot is now closed, but they requested we create unique gelato flavors (even though we only produce ice cream at Candy) as well as sugar-free options for them. We love having our ice cream widely available.
How do you separate B.Candy from a place like Powell’s?
We absolutely adore our bright, colorful, contemporary setting—complete with rainbows, unicorns, mermaids, and tons of fun finds. Our unique toy and gift selections allow us to have something for everyone. We pride ourselves on the overall experience of coming to B.Candy! People come to our shop to hang out, take photos, sometimes even do homework, and socialize with our awesome employees.