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Tasty bugs

Posted at 10:38 PM, May 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-15 08:09:15-04

There’s a candy shop that’s been a Pismo Beach staple for more than 30 years but at this store, you may find a little more than you bargained for.  But don’t worry the bugs are supposed to be there.

Ray Peterman’s brother Larry bought the candy shop nearly 30 years ago and it started as a pretty typical candy store.  “It’s kinda funny because when my brother purchased the place, the lady lived in the back and she was known for her cinnamon suckers, hence the name Hotlix,” said Peterman.

But when Larry took over he was looking for something a little different, something that would put Hotlix on the map.  “I don’t know how exactly it came about, but one of the kids that worked for him jokingly said why don’t you do a tequila sucker with a worm, and we did. So that’s what started it.”

Today Hotlix suckers and chocolate covered candies can be found all around the country and even across the globe.  “We send out to Great Britain, Australia, sometimes we send to Sweden on occasion. We do different things all over the world,” said Peterman

Inside each is mealworm, a cricket, a scorpion or their latest addition, an earthworm.  Do people really eat them?  Peterman says, it’s not very often, but people do.  “Most of the time it’s more of a gag gift, you know a lot of people do eat them.”

Sometimes all it takes is a little persuasion and maybe an unsuspecting customer looking for a free sample.  Noah Hernandez is visiting Pismo Beach from Bakersfield and tasted one of the chocolate covered crickets without knowing it from a free sample. “It’s good, tastes like a Crunch bar,” he said.

But a look of shock came over his face when he was told what the crunchy bit inside actually was.  After a little time to “digest” the news, he admitted it was o.k. “Oh my. I mean it was actually good,”  he said.

The store remains in the same spot where it started more than thirty years ago. As it’s grown they’ve had to add more production facilities.  But visitors and local fans can still see the chocolate covered candy being made in the original location.