I live for sugar. My friends know to gift chocolates for Christmas and to take me out for ginormous sundaes on my birthday. When I eat out with my husband, I start with dessert and work my way back. When I need a snack, it’s not crisps I reach for but the likes of Japanese chewy candy Hi-Chew or Kit Kat. And more recently since arriving in Hong Kong, I crave chewing gum.
We eat candy because we like the taste – and, sometimes, for the endorphins that follow later in a rush. But eating sweets has become almost monotonous, because we turn to familiar comforts or favourites. So that’s why French confectionery expert Olivia Niddam, who has spearheaded leading sweets brands such as Jean-Paul Hévin and L'Éclair de Génie, thought we needed a whole new perspective on sugar and to interact more with our sweets. So up has popped The BonBonist, the new sweet shop on the block at Pacific Place.
”The idea is to create a unique confectionery experience that enlivens all of our senses,“ said Olivia. ”The BonBonist combines sweets and chocolates with luxury, sophistication and playfulness and is a unique concept that will reinvent Hong Kong’s confectionery world.“
The BonBonist founder, Olivia Niddam
The BonBonist promises a creative sensory experience. Every item is designed to fit one of 10 adorable virtual characters that form the bonbon tribe: Guilt-free Glora, Crunchy Balls Charlie, Les Classiques Monsieur B (European classics), Love & Laughter Precious, Bundle of Joy Chico, Chocotastic Coco, Fruitilicious Frankie, Sour Ninja Nino, Grown-up Gigi the Geisha and Sparkle and Pop Bob. Each bonbon flavour comes in a crystal cube and can be mixed and matched into a bigger sweets box (containing three or eight cubes) with your own message stickers and ribbons.
I headed straight for the shelf displaying Grown-up Gigi the Geisha, which, as the name suggests, targets adults. The staff offered me some samples from the theme and I tried my first candy – Chilli Bang Bang – also a personal favourite of Olivia’s. I was expecting the gummy to have a hint of spice, but my mouth started to burn. They were downright spicy.
Then I reached for the pina colada gummy in an attempt to cool off my tongue. The coconut and pineapple tang provided little relief and the taste was faint. I had to steal a few secret gulps of water before I tried a Prosecco bear. This time I was able to taste a little of the alcohol.
Spurred on by the spirit of the adventure (or probably pumped by the spice), I decided to go for something from the Sour Ninja Nino series. I tried a spinach Fairy Tale Bear and cringed. Not as sharp as the likes of Watermelon Kick, but it was still able to paralyse my mouth for a second. It was piquant and it was bearable – so I asked for a blackcurrant. And cringed again.
To round out my candy experience, the staff recommended Cornelious Crunch from Crunchy Balls Charlie. It tasted like cornflakes coated in both dark and milk chocolate. It was really good but maybe a tad too small to pack the crunch that I crave. But it would be perfect for those who are peckish and watching a movie, without the crunch drowning out the surround sound.
Chilli Bang Bang did create an unforgettable taste explosion. Even if you are a fan of heat, do try that last. The Fairy Tale Bears would also make a cute and happy little present for sour lovers this season.
The treats range in price from $38–$68 per cube and are sourced from European countries such as France and Germany, which are renowned for their sweets. If you are looking for a Christmas gift, The BonBonist offers a range of fun, chic presents without the price sting. In addition, they also have special flavours for other celebratory occasions like engagements and baby showers. Or, if you prefer, you can assemble your own personalised gift box from over 70 selections.
Shop 200E, 2/F, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, 2155 4440
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author‘s.