Debbie Croft: Candy shop offering confection field trip

August 23, 2013 

Nelson's Columbia Candy Kitchen offers ambiance and sweets from another era. Like a step back in time, this shop is a delight to the eyes, and the taste buds, for all ages. A large window in the back allows visitors to peer into the kitchen and watch the candy-making process, operating with equipment and techniques from the 1800s.

Nelson's uses Guittard chocolate in their homemade and hand-dipped confections. Guittard's and Nelson's both originated in the mid-1800s, carrying on the tradition of fine candies for generations since.

Besides chocolates galore, the shop features English Toffee, hand-dipped fruits, creams, nuts and caramels, marshmallow bars, fresh fruit jellies and 10 varieties of licorice. Hard candies come in traditional flavors such as sour apple, clove and sassafras, plus watermelon and lemon and other classic favorites.

Those interested in taking a Christmas candy-making field trip may enter the drawing by Labor Day. Field trips for groups of 15 or less are scheduled on weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Ribbon candy is made at the 11 a.m. time slot, and candy canes are made at noon, 1 and 2 p.m. on each day.

When sending a postcard to Nelson's, please include name, address, phone number, and specify the weekend you're available (or "any weekend"). Nelson's contact info is: PO Box 191, Columbia, 95310, (209) 532-7886. Visit for details about this event and the shop.

Among other foothills activities:

Columbia town tours are offered on weekends. From 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, visitors will enjoy a guided tour of the Gold Rush community. Visit the actual site where gold was discovered. Learn about early settlers and merchants, and hear the stories behind the historic buildings.

Today, the annual button show will be held in Columbia, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about this and other events, check or call (209) 588-9128.

There's also much to do in other communities of Tuolumne County this month:

Twain Harte is holding a huge yard sale today in the downtown area from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tonight's Concert in the Pines series presents "Jimmy and the Wave Runners," a Jimmy Buffet tribute band. The concert is from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Eproson Park.

Participating restaurants take turns providing special boxed dinners for concert-goers, up to eight in a party. Reservations are $25-$35 per guest. Dinner includes the meal, one bottle each of red and white wine (per table), and a commemorative wine glass.

The Twain Harte Film Fest is held during Labor Day weekend, August 30 through September 2. Celebrity guests and Oscar nominees Stuart Whitman and Sally Kirkland will attend this year's event. Kirkland is a Golden Globe winner and veteran star of 120 films.

The festival opens Thursday night with the showing of "The Comancheros" starring Whitman. Western-themed movies, documentaries, shorts, student and feature-length movies will be shown at three venues in town. The website has more info.

For details about Tuolumne County events, visit

Editor's Note: Because of the Rim fire in Tuolumne County, check websites for status updates on the following events before planning to attend. Debbie Croft writes about life in the foothills communities. She can be reached at

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