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Lolli and Pops manager Christopher Ruzic will sell you any of 8,000 candies.

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    Lolli and Pops manager Christopher Ruzic will sell you any of 8,000 candies, including a 5-pound gummy bear.

Feast Q&A: Christopher Ruzic of Lolli and Pops

Published: Sunday, May. 11, 2014 - 12:00 am

If the 26-pound gummy bear is more than you can handle, you can settle on the 5-pounder. Or choose from bins of multiflavored gummy bears (and imported sours) in the Gummy Room at Lolli and Pops candy store.

The L&P in the Roseville Galleria is part of an eight-store family-run national chain that calls itself a “purveyor of sweetness.” It’s easy to see why: The shop carries 8,000 kinds of candies sourced from the U.S., Mexico, Japan, France, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland and Germany. A line of Italian sweets will arrive soon.

For Mother’s Day, it’s not too late to dash out to L&P for a classy glass jar full of Mom’s favorite. There are 12 jar and pail sizes; fill them with any bulk candy for a flat rate of $11 to $50.

L&P’s offerings range from low-end (jawbreakers) to high (handmade truffles). Its array of artisanal chocolate bars is serious. Among the bars: the Dick Taylor line, handmade in Arcata from cacao beans sourced in the Dominican Republic ($10 for two ounces), Dandelion and TCHO from San Francisco, and Mast Brothers from Brooklyn, N.Y.

L&P is at 1151 Galleria Blvd., Roseville; (916) 594-0129, We dropped by the emporium and met manager Christopher Ruzic, a living candy encyclopedia.

What’s the reaction when customers walk in?

Laughter, and, “Oh, my gosh, I haven’t seen this candy in ages.” They feel like they’ve entered a portal into a candy land from a Willy Wonka or Disney movie.

Why does candy speak to us so loudly?

It’s the element of nostalgia and good memories linked to childhood. It makes people smile.

How about a tour?

In the Wonka Room we have old-time, vibrantly colored candies like jellybeans and licorice. The Gumball Room includes hard candies like jawbreakers, lemon drops and 10 flavors of rock candy.

The Chocolate Library is dedicated to chocolate from all over the world. That antique trunk over there looks like a treasure chest because it’s filled with foil-wrapped chocolate coins. ...

In the Gummy Room, we have every fruit flavor of gummy bears you can think of – mango, black cherry, pineapple. It’s also the home of our 9-foot-tall gummy bear (statue). People run in here and pose with it for pictures.

We call the main area the Apothecary. It has two tables of nostalgic candies like Zagnut, Mary Jane and Razzles, and three walls full of imported candies from the United Kingdom, Mexico and Japan. Our truffle case is full of the biggest truffles in the country (including sugar-free). My favorite truffle is the Mexican hot chocolate with green chilies and a dusting of spices and cinnamon.

What’s in the soda cooler?

About 120 old-time sodas and 25 root beers. The most popular soda is Harry Potter’s Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer (cream soda). More people come in for that than anything else.

What are your top three best-selling candies?

Sea-salted caramels, chocolate-covered gummy bears and the assorted-flavor gummy bears.

What can customers taste?

We’re very generous with samples of anything they want to try, as long as they ask us. That way, they can find the perfect treat.

What’s your personal go-to?

Probably the Dandelion chocolate bar, the best I’ve ever tasted. I often ask people who love chocolate to sample that bar.

Do you and the staff get to eat all the candy you want, all the time?

We try not to, but we’re literally like kids in a candy store. It’s hard not to taste things.

Call The Bee’s Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128. Follow him on Twitter @apierleonisacbe.

Read more articles by Allen Pierleoni

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