Archive for the ‘Nostalgic Candy Favorites’ Category
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.
This Sunday, Mad Men is coming back for season six. Whether you’re gathering with friends for the big show or snuggling up solo to view your guilty pleasure, there are preparations to be made.
You’ve acquired a snazzy vest and equally dapper fedora. You’ve printed out all of the appropriate cocktail or mocktail recipes. You’ve listened to some Billy Page, Dusty Springfield, or Nancy Sinatra.
And you’ve got the candy.
You did get all the right 1960’s retro candy, didn’t you?
Well, if you have not yet set yourself up with yummy, relevant, retro candy, then we have some treats for you.
The first items you’ll want to stock up on are candy cigarettes. Now, you can join right along with the characters as their smoking their Lucky Strikes, but you won’t be coughing as much as they are. But, you know, this is a celebration, so you may want to enjoy a distinguished bubble gum cigar to kick off season 6.
Create A Happier Happy Hour
Some of the best Mad Men moments take place after work, at some of New York’s finest drinking establishments. Join Don Draper for a happy hour dirty martini. As he imbibes with olives on a swizzle stick, you can enjoy a rock candy swizzle stick (hold the olive) without ruining your Monday.
Get In Character
You can even enjoy the exact same treats featured in the show! In this clip from season two, episode four, Draper is quoted saying that he enjoyed eating “ham and candy that tasted like violets.” Though many misheard the quote; thinking he said, “…candy that tasted like violence,” he was actually describing Choward’s Violet Mints. These mints, introduced in the 1930’s, have a refreshing floral flavor and fragrance – In case you were wondering what Don Draper’s breathe smelled like.
This Candy Will Take You Back
You might be wondering why we’re talking about Mad Men on our Candy blog. But these two things have a lot in common. What we all love about Mad Men is the insight into, or the reminiscence of a different time. The show brings folks together through entertainment and reminds us of a significant time in our cultural history.
A part of that cultural history is the candy of the 1960’s. We’re an old-school candy company, and connecting people with nostalgic retro candies is the best part of our job. We like to think that, even though it’s a small part, these treats help bring people together over something delicious.
Radz is all about making candy fun, and a big part of that is our collection of colorful Radz characters. Meet Twig, Scorch, Antic, Max and Bubbs!
They’ve each got their own personalities (and their own Pinterest boards). We like to think of them as your typical group of friends, each with their own passions and quirks.
We’ve got Twig, the outdoorsman.
And Scorch, the extreme sports loving “bro.”
There’s Antic, the prankster of the group.
Max is the traveler, ever on the go.
And finally, there’s Bubbs, the loyal buddy always ready to lend a hand.
We’ve taken a lot of care getting to know our characters (and yes, we can even tell you who’s frenemies with who) and we’re very excited to share them with the world through our candy dispensers (available soon at CandyFavorites!) and our fun, free online entertainment portal. But we also know we’re hardly the first to figure out that tasty candy and fun characters make an awesome duo.
So, in the spirit of CandyFavorites, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at some other candy characters and mascots that have appeared over the years.
Choo Choo Charlie was the face of Good & Plenty starting in 1950.
He may not be around anymore, but many fans still remember how much Charlie loved trains and his Good & Plenty! Check out one of Charlie’s commercial’s here.
M&Ms have been around since the 40s, but it wasn’t until 1954 that the characters Red and Yellow made their debut. Remember these guys?
The characters got an overhaul in the mid-90s, when a computer animated Red and Yellow began appearing in TV commercials, soon be followed by Blue, Ms. Green, Orange, and the recently introduced newest member of the M&M bunch, Ms. Brown.
The Dum Dums Drum man was developed for Spangler Candy in 1966.
Wally Warhead burst onto the sour candy scene in the 1980s with his signature puckered lips.
And Mr. Jelly Belly first appeared in 1996.
Did we miss your favorite candy character or mascot? Let us know in the comments! And come check us out and learn more about the Radz characters at candyfavorites.com and radzworld.com!
Being in the candy business is a lot of fun. We often get to connect people with candies they’ve loved and lost. Each holiday brings a wave of exhilaration at being part of something joyful. But every once in a while, we’re fortunate that our work allows us to do something really cool. Just before Christmas this year, an email from a drowsy dad gave us just that kind of opportunity.
Nearly every young child has their favorite thing — some item they hold on to for comfort throughout their early years. For one boy, it was a soft yellow M&M’s pillow. He’d slept soundly with it every night, beginning with his first night home from the hospital after being born. On a recent vacation, that M&M’s pillow went missing and sleepless nights began.
After searching desperately (without any luck) for a replacement, the boy’s father wrote to Candy Favorites. The pillows were long gone from our inventory, but he hoped that just maybe we could connect him with one yellow pillow. It just happened that our President,
Jon Prince, had set a few collectible pillows aside, thinking they were interesting novelty items. He went searching, and sure enough, a yellow M&M’s pillow was among them. Jon was delighted to send it off just in time for Christmas.
Here’s what happened on Christmas Morning:
We are so grateful to this family for sharing their Christmas with us. Like anything else, the candy business has its ups and downs. But these are the moments that make it all worthwhile.
Interested in celebrating yet another holiday between Thanksgiving and Christmas? Need a distraction from your kids’ constant countdown? Belsnickel Day is the perfect opportunity to practice your early-morning home-videography skills and encourage children to keep the pre-holiday tantrums to a minimum.
A few of us graced with the good fortune of growing up in rural German Pennsylvania towns know the joy of a little early Christmas visit. On the evening of December 6th, we put our shoes (one pair apiece, of course) next to the front door. In the morning, they’d most likely be full of candy treats and small gifts. This was, however, the only occasion on which we really ever saw lumps of coal. After all, it was Belsnickel’s job to let Santa know whether we’d been behaving our P’s and Q’s.
A Sometimes Troubling Tradition
The tradition of Der Belsnickel was brought to America by German immigrants and was soon adopted by other settlers. The name translates roughly to “Niklos in furs,” and the character is traditionally covered in, well, furs. In some traditions, he’ll even wear masks or be painted to look pretty terrifying. The job of Belsnickel is to reward good children and punish those who’d misbehaved.
The Belsnickel I believed in was a far cry from the mythical being who scared the Bejeezus out of kids (and probably their parents). In my own view, Belsnickel was more or less Santa’s brother or cousin popping in to make sure things were as they should be as Christmas approached. Though I never stayed up to try and catch a glimpse, had I known the real legend, I imagine I’d have refused to sleep — or maybe even to leave school. As it turned out, I stayed blissfully unaware and reveled in the fact that I got to enjoy the gifts of an “extra” jolly gentleman who passed by the homes of my classmates.
Keeping a Classic
The Pennsylvania Dutch tradition of Belsnickle started fading in the 1920′s. It’s for that reason that I’d really like to keep it alive. It’s one of those opportunities to celebrate a fading cultural practice and develop a yearly tradition at the same time. Just like I feed my friends saurkraut on New Year’s Day, I plan to add a shoe-Santa moment to my pre-Christmas ugly sweater party. What better way to add a dash of unexpected magic to the holiday season?
Mark your calendar for December 6th and check out our naughty-and-nice stocking stuffers for the perfect Belsnickle treats!
They say that variety is the spice of life. Well, Brach’s is delivering a variety of spices with its new lineup of holiday nougats.
Okay…so they’re mostly mints. But you get the idea. You might remember Christmas Nougats from going “treeing” at other people’s houses. They have these tiny little trees in the middle, and you can’t help but try and bite around the candy just so, in an effort to free the tree from a forest of nougat. And then, when you fail, you can’t help but try again. Over the years, I wiled away many hours this way, waiting for adults to finish talking. These candies, for many of us, are a signal that the holidays are really here.
Classic Peppermint Christmas Nougats
It all started with the Brach’s Peppermint Christmas Nougat. This red-and-white variety is the classic soft candy of Christmas, but as a kid I shied away from them. But as an adult, curiosity struck. What I found is that these are actually quite addictive.
The texture seems to be hard before you open them. But the nougat softens as you chew, giving way to one of the cleanest and smoothest candy textures I’ve experienced. They’re really nice after dinner (and after dessert) to make your mouth all fresh and tingly. They’re more peppermint than sweet, so you feel like you’ve eaten a mint rather than a candy.
Wintergreen Christmas Nougats
Somewhere over the years, Brach’s decided to mix it up. So now those more inclined to eat Canada Mints can have a Christmas candy, too. Wintergreen is one of those bizarre flavors that you don’t think you want to eat on purpose. Pepto Bismol might have done that to us. But one bite of something Wintergreen that’s actually yummy, and you can’t stop eating it.
Brach’s Wintergreen Christmas Nougats are no exception. They have the exact same wonderful texture and festive design as the Peppermint nougat, but the base color is light green instead of white. These leave you with a distinct cool feeling in your mouth.
Cinnamon Christmas Nougats
Cinnamon might be the best variety for children new to the world of Brach’s Christmas Nougats. These also have the little tree design, but the main color is pink. When you open an individually wrapped piece, you’re immediately hit with a jolt of cinnamon fragrance. These are just remarkably pleasant, because they have potent cinnamon flavor without overwhelming you with a burst of heat.
Cinnamon Christmas Nougats give you all the texture of classic nougats, plus a cinnamonny experience without the annoying loss of flavor you get from chewing gum. Unlike the mint varieties, this one leaves your mouth feeling warm and toasty.
Chocolate Mint Christmas Nougats
And then there’s one more — the fun one. Brach’s Chocolate Mint Christmas Nougats take things outside the box. They abandon the classic tree design for a basic but totally cute irregular swirl. This makes them fun to smash, so kids — or you — might end up playing with them more than the others. The chocolate and mint layers are made from two distinct flavors of nougat. The chocolate is a really nice surprise. It has none of that essence-of-fake-chocolate taste, but rather adds a subtle chocolate tone to the distinct mint flavor.
I carefully nibbled at the mint layer of several of these, trying to decide what kind of mint it was. I gave up. It has the light green hue of wintergreen but the freshness of peppermint. And seems too much like a Peppermint Patty to be Wintergreen. Either way, when you eat the layers together, you still get that very consistent, smooth nougat texture, with a refreshing flavor that leaves behind notes of mint.
A Christmas Candy Tradition
The nutrition facts on these puppies makes them an indulgence that’s worth it. The stats are pretty similar for all varieties, so 5 pieces have around 160 calories and 3 grams of fat. That’s not bad at all for candy in any season. Stick with Brach’s to revive old traditions or start new ones. These candies are so unique, they won’t be forgotten.