Archive for the ‘Nostalgic Candy Favorites’ Category
There’s something great about the sweet stick-to-your teeth Bit-O-Honey that everybody knows and loves. It’s a nostalgic treat that’s been around for what feels like an eternity. But did you know all the chewy details of its past?
Bit-O-Honey first took the stage in 1924. In that year, Schutter-Johnson Company, based in Chicago, Illinois, created a new kind of candy bar. A bar made of almond bits in a honey-flavored taffy; Bit-O-Honey was a far cry from popular chocolate bars at the time.
Made with egg white for extra chew, the six pieces of taffy wrapped in wax paper were a huge success. People were craving that taffy from the minute it was on the market!
Then in 1969, Schutter-Johnson Company merged with NYC’s Ward Company, the makers of Chunky, Oh Henry! and Raisinets. It was during the time of this merger that a chocolate version of the treat, aptly named, Bit-O-Chocolate was made. However, something about the chocolate variety didn’t catch on, and the product was later discontinued.
Other flavors like Bit-O-Licorice and Bit-O-Peanut Butter were also made, but, once again, failed to find wide approval. Clearly, when it comes to Bit-O-Honey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
Although the different flavors didn’t work out so well, there was an addition from the late 70’s that did manage to stick around. Can you guess what it is? The Bit-O-Honey bumblebee, of course!
This guy has been adorning Bit-O-Honey wrappers for over 30 years! And, just like the original flavor, he doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
Nestle bought the Bit-O-Honey brand in 1984, and just last year, Pearson’s Candy Company purchased Bit-O-Honey from Nestle. But while this classic treat has been shuffled around quite a bit in its day, you can bet that the Bit-O-Honey you bite into now is just as good as the original.
Nothing says childhood quite like PEZ. There’s something nostalgic about these familiar little treats that bring back memories of yesteryear with each and every bite. But would you believe that your favorite PEZ didn’t start out as the fruity candy we know and love today? It’s true! In fact, this is one candy that has a history that may surprise you.
Pfefferminz to PEZ
Eduard Haas III invented PEZ in 1927, in Vienna, Austria. The name of the candy originated from the German word for peppermint, which happens to be “pfeffermintz.” Haas took the ‘p,’ ‘e,’ and ‘z’ from the German word to get the candy’s name, PEZ. And after eight years, the company was doing so well that they had to build a factory in Czechoslovakia to increase production.
PEZ For Your Health
Then in 1948, Oscar Uxa revolutionized the PEZ experience, designing a PEZ dispenser that allowed one piece of candy to be dispensed at a time. This was a sanitary measure that prevented people from touching every piece of candy before choosing one. However, it also doubled as an anti-smoking campaign.
The push for people to eat PEZ instead of smoking a cigarette was a real one. In fact, early slogans for the candy boasted, “No smoking, PEZing Allowed” as Haas hoped his candy might lower smoking rates.
PEZ in the USA
It wasn’t until 1952 that PEZ made their way to the United States. In that year, the first U.S. PEZ headquarters were established in New York City. Despite PEZ’s success in Europe, Curtis Allina, the first president of PEZ in the U.S., found the candy difficult to sell because of the strong peppermint flavor. So, in an attempt to draw children to the brand, PEZ came up with the idea to create fruity flavored versions and cute, character-themed dispensers.
The idea worked. In no time, children and adults alike were in love with PEZ. The very first dispensers available were a Full-body Santa, Robot, and Space Gun. And since then, the character-themed dispensers have really taken off! Today, there are countless different PEZ dispensers to choose from, and ten different candy flavors available. We have Hello Kitty PEZ Dispensers, Marvel Superhero PEZ dispensers, and everything in between. There really is a PEZ for everybody.
And while PEZ are sold worldwide, the PEZ candy that you eat in the USA is made in America. So with a single satisfying click of any PEZ dispenser, you can feel good knowing that the candy in your mouth is really much closer to home than you would expect.
Snap From The Past
Black licorice. Some people love it. Some people hate it. But no matter where you stand on the licorice spectrum, wouldn’t licorice be better if it was coated in something sweet? Like candy? We think so, and apparently we’re not alone. You see, the good people at the American Licorice Company are one step ahead of you, and have been for quite a few decades.
An Instant Classic
The American Licorice Company started in 1914 in Chicago, Illinois. Back then, their very first candy was licorice twists. Next came licorice cigarettes and cigars, during the Great Depression. As it turns out, when times were tough, people seemed to need a candy fix even more than when the living was easy. It wasn’t until the 1930s that The Original Snaps Classic Chewy Candy appeared on the main stage.
Snaps, with their licorice center and pastel candy coating, became an instant classic. Originally, they were sold in distinctive red boxes for only 2 cents each. That’s a bargain you won’t see anymore! Even the packaging boasted of the Snaps success, deeming them the “Classic Chewy Candy.” There’s no doubt that these were a fantastic hit.
Over the years, Snaps have had a somewhat turbulent history culminating in their recently being discontinued. But they’ve had a long run, developing a cult-like following in the process.
Until very recently, Snaps enjoyed a beloved treat by baby boomers and many more. For those who enjoy the bite of black licorice mixed with a sweet sheen of candy, this has been the treat of choice since its debut in the 30s. It will go down as one of the most iconic late candies of our era. But when you need a candy-coated-licorice fix, former Snaps lovers will have to resort to Licorice Pastilles and Good ‘N Plenty like everyone else.
Sources: Text and Images
A Mint From The Past
If you’ve eaten candy in the last almost 100 years, then chances are you’ve had Angel Mints. These minty masterpieces were first introduced in 1919 on the Atlantic City boardwalk. The boardwalk was the birthplace of many popular time-tested candies, such as Salt Water Taffy, as people are more apt to treat themselves to sugar on a day in the sun.
Originally, each batch of Angel Mints was cooked in copper kettles over gas stoves, to maximize moisture content. After cooking, the candies were individually wrapped to ensure freshness. It’s that little extra effort that has continued to make a huge difference in taste for almost a century.
And the heavenly name? Legend goes that people raved about the candy’s peppermint zing with comments like, “this candy tastes heavenly” and “this recipe had to be divinely inspired,” so that the candy maker could see no more fitting name than Angel Mints! Not bad, eh?
One of the reasons Angel Mints have remained so popular over the years is their apparent healing property. The peppermint oil in each Angel Mint has palliative therapy benefits that have been reported to help treat indigestion, respiratory problems, and everything in between.
In fact, peppermint oil has a whole host of healthy properties. It contains manganese, iron, magnesium, calcium, folate, potassium, copper, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins A and C. As if you needed more reasons to love Angel Mints! Now you know, they’re actually good for your health!
A 21st Century Mint
Today, production of Angel Mints has moved to Florida, but the process hasn’t changed a bit. Each batch is still handmade according to the original recipe, and wrapped on the same K-H cut and wrap machines that have been around since the dawn of Angel Mints time. A traditional process in a modern era: now that’s history that you can taste.
Ask anyone on the street if they’ve ever heard of Brach’s candy and they’ll probably think of those infamous bulk bins in the grocery store. Or, they may sing you a little jingle, “Stop where you are, buy a Brach’s candy bar.” But do you know how it all began?
As it turns out, Brach’s is almost 110 years old, as the first store was opened all the way back in 1904. Brach’s was created by a German immigrant by the name of Emil J. Brach. And, believe it or not, the store in 1904 was his second attempt at starting a candy business. His first, in the late 1800s, was a complete failure.
The first Brach products were caramels, made in the back of the store and displayed at the front as a way to lure in customers. And lure them in it did! Between 1906 and 1913, the Chicago-based company had to move locations three times to keep up with expansion due to high demand.
It’s no surprise that they were so popular, too! Brach’s has always prided itself on quality, being the first candy company to institute what we might call quality control on candies coming off the line.
Back in the day, Brach shipped his candies by horse, car, mail, and train. So you could have your candies, no matter how near or far you were to the store. That dedication to customer satisfaction is one of the main reasons Brach’s has stayed in business for so long.
The Brachs kept the business in the family for a long time, too, only selling to a non-family buyer in 1966. But the change in ownership didn’t change anything about the taste! Those Chocolate Stars are still sure to be as good as you remember.
Today, Brach’s abandoned factory has some film credit fame to its name, as it became Gotham Hospital in the 2008 movie, The Dark Knight. Cool, right? And since you can’t make delicious confections in a decaying building, you can rest assured knowing that your Brach’s candies are made safely in Texas by company Farley’s & Sathers.
Brach’s is truly a company for the ages. What started as a niche has exploded into a huge candy empire, reaching sweet tooths, everywhere.
A Peach Blossom A Day
Peach Blossoms are a candy that tastes as sweet as it sounds. A truly American treat, they also happen to be made by an American company with a history that stretches far longer than you may have expected.
It all started back in 1847. It was in this fateful year that a man by the name of Oliver Chase invented the lozenge cutter. Chase was a pharmacist, so he wasn’t necessarily in the candy-making business. But, as it turns out, the creation of this machine, which allowed long ropes of sugar to be cut into manageable pieces, was just what the confectionary doctor had ordered.
In fact, the machine was first used to slice up what we know today as NECCO Wafers. Originally used as cough drops, or a way to soothe the stomach, these wafers were yet to come into their candy prime. Alas, who would have known that a simple little machine, similar to a pasta maker, would have such an impact on U.S. candy production?
Peach Blossoms Blossom
In 1901, Chase & Company, Hayward & Company, and Wright & Moody – three pre-Civil-War-era candy companies – joined forces to become NECCO: the New England Confectionary Company that we know and love today.
Four years later, in 1905, NECCO introduced Peach Blossoms. And the smooth peanut butter, wrapped in a crunchy candy coating has been delighting sweet tooths ever since.
But, don’t expect Peach Blossoms to actually taste like peaches. The candy is more reminiscent of the flower than the fruit, as there’s no peach flavoring inside. Somehow, the misleading name has never been a turnoff, as generations have been enjoying the candy ever since.
Today, Peach Blossoms are manufactured in Revere, Massachusetts. The factory still uses many machines that have been around since before World War II and relies on real live workers to add food coloring and whisk mixtures – no fully automated candy production, here! So the Peach Blossoms you buy today are made with the same personal touch that has been sweetening every batch for decades.
The Early Days of a Retro Candy Bar
The history of the Abba-Zaba bar goes way back, all the way to 1922, to be exact. It was a different time, then. The first radio had just arrived at the White House, Egypt received independence from Great Britain, and a little candy company called Colby and McDermott was manufacturing a new kind of candy bar in Los Angeles, California.
What made this candy so special, you might ask? Well, it consisted of a white taffy exterior with a creamy peanut butter center. Known as the Abba-Zaba bar, this stick-to-your-teeth confection became a huge hit out west, where they still carry the biggest clout, today.
In The Spotlight
Anyone who loves the Abba-Zaba bar will recognize that black and yellow Taxi-cab-esque exterior. But are you familiar with the original wrapper scandal? Early Abba-Zaba wrappers from Colby & McDermott depict what appear to be African tribesmen in a jungle, sitting beside a taffy tree. And while this racially taboo packaging would never fly today, it didn’t do the brand any damage when the candy first came out.
The Abba-Zaba bar has also made numerous TV and movie appearances in its sweet history, racking up quite a few screen creds- the most famous of which may be from its mention in the movie Half Baked.
Over the years, manufacturing of the candy passed first to Cardinet Candy and then to Annabelle Candy Company in 1978. But despite frequent company changes, the original Abba-Zaba taste has remained the same.
Today, Annabelle Candy Company manufactures the Abba-Zaba bar in Hayward, California. The candy is Kosher pareve and is even available in new flavors. You can now get your Abba-Zaba fix with green-apple flavored taffy, or a chocolate, instead of peanut butter, filling.
And once you’ve gotten your hands on one, the choice is yours on how you want to enjoy it. Some say freezing them is the best way. Others say leaving them in a hot car does the trick. Either way, you’re in for a treat.
A Man and His Popcorn
Nothing screams Americana quite like the 7th inning stretch and a box of Cracker Jacks. But would you believe this time-tested snack was created by a German immigrant and debuted not at the ballpark, but at the World’s Fair? The story of this American candy classic is an interesting one, indeed.
Frederick William Rueckheim had been selling popcorn on the streets of Chicago for years, when, in 1893, he came up with a new popcorn creation for the Chicago World’s Fair. When his brother Louis arrived from Germany, they established the F.W. Rueckheim & Bro. company to sell their popcorn together.
What is a Cracker Jack?
In 1896 the name Cracker Jack was officially registered (before then the snack had been called candied popcorn and peanuts) and the familiarly sticky and sweet candy we know today was born.
Back in the day, the term “cracker jack” could refer to anything of high quality, so it’s no wonder the name stuck! The coining of the name, however, was just the first of many big steps for this candy favorite.
Out of Left Field
Henry Gottlieb Eckstein’s invention of the “Eckstein Triple Proof Bag” in 1899 made him the perfect business partner for the Rueckheim brothers. And, in 1902, the company became Rueckheim Bros & Eckstein.
But it would take six more years before Cracker Jacks came into their own. In 1908, Jack Norworth penned the infamous lines of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” that shot Cracker Jacks into the limelight. Since then, no baseball game has been complete without at least one box of the crunchy, sweet treat.
Changes came to the company, fast and furious, as Cracker Jacks grew in popularity. In 1912 Rueckheim Bros & Eckstein began adding tiny prizes to each box of Cracker Jacks. Candy and toys? These guys really knew what would sell. The face of Cracker Jacks got another boost in 1918, when Sailor Jack and his dog Bingo were added to the packaging.
The endearing duo was apparently based on Rueckheim’s grandson and dog. But, I’d say it’s probably not a coincidence that they appeared at the end of the 1st World War. A patriotic move, if I do say so myself.
A Home Run
Today, Cracker Jacks are made by Frito-Lay. They’re still a fan favorite at baseball games, enchanting the young and the young-at-heart as they have for decades. So while the prizes may have changed over the years, you can be sure that the candy inside hasn’t changed a bit.
The first Valomilk candy cup was created in Kansas by the Sifers company in 1931. The Sifers company had gotten its start by making hard penny candy and then moved on to boxed chocolates and 5-cent candy bars. Like most great inventions, the first Valomilk was the product of a happy accident (serendipity, you might say).
Making a Marshmallow Mess
At that time, the vanilla used to make marshmallows had a lot more alcohol in it than it does today. When a candy maker added too much vanilla, it would prevent the marshmallow from setting properly. Fortunately, when life handed Sifers a batch of runny marshmallow and some chocolate, they made Valomilk!
Valomilks were first sold in the Midwest and were made up of 2 ounces of marshmallow in one chocolate cup. Now the same amount of candy is split up into 2 smaller cups, making the treat easier (and cleaner) to eat.
Fighting the Good Fight
Valomilks have now been on shelves for 5 generations, but it wasn’t without a fight. In 1981 the Valomilk factory shut down and this classic candy was nowhere to be found.
Thankfully the great grandson of the company’s founder combined the original copper kettles and the traditional family recipe to begin making Valomilks again in Kansas. They only disappeared for 6 years!
To get Valomilks right, they have to be made by hand, so that’s how they’re still made today — one by one, right here in America.
Clark Bars are an American institution near and dear to our black-and-gold Pittsburgh Hearts. They were formulated right here in our hometown of McKeesport, PA at the turn of the century by a gentleman named David L. Clark. The candy bar was originally made just a few blocks from the warehouse where our candy company has resided since 1927! Since our founder Ernest Prince was friendly with Mr. Clark, we were probably the very FIRST candy wholesalers in the nation to offer this treat.
The company later changed its name to “DL Clark Company” and moved to downtown Pittsburgh. It graced the city with an illuminated candy-bar sign and remained until 1955 when it was acquired by Beatrice Foods. Over the years, they would be acquired by Leaf Confections and then again by Hershey, who returned the candy bar and its headquarters to its roots in Pittsburgh. It remained for three short but blissful years until New England Confectionary Company acquired it.
Despite Clark’s many owners and a few controversial ingredient changes (that were fortunately reversed), Clark Bars remain a tried-and-true classic combination of crunchy peanut butter and creamy milk chocolate. Today, this retro candy qualifies as a piece of edible Americana.