Archive for the ‘Retro Candy’ Category
By Susan Amerikaner
We recently celebrated our 35th Wedding Anniversary. We are not big entertainers: not party-goers or party-givers. But my husband felt we ought to somehow mark this milestone in style. And thanks to CandyFavorites—and my own planning–our party was a wild success.
People have been asking me how I did it. So I decided to write and share. This was a decidedly adult affair, but you can easily adapt for children’s birthdays. We used candy, creativity and the film Casablanca. For children, you could easily use a film such as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory! (I prefer the original with Gene Wilder, but the newer one with Johnny Depp would do also.)
We have long loved the classic film Casablanca. We’ve seen it so many times, we can quote lines to each other. Casablanca has special significance for us, because the first time I met my husband he impressed me with his Bogie imitation of “Here’s looking at you, kid.” I was a goner!
We live in a community with a choice of party rooms, and we got one with a projector and sound system. I made the place look as much as “Rick’s Café” as I could. Inexpensive Moroccan style candle lanterns for each table worked well, plus movie posters and a six-foot-stand-up of Humphrey Bogart. We would serve Greek food—and then show the film while serving candy, popcorn and cake.
Then I came up with ways to make the movie “interactive.” If you have ever been to a Sound of Music Sing-a-Long or a Grease Sing-a-Long, you know what I mean. The audience gets a small bag of “props” to use at certain moments in the film. It’s great fun. These films also have song captions on the screen. Casablanca isn’t a musical, but it still has memorable moments to “play!” This is what we put in our party bags:
- Chocolate Cigarettes
- Bubble Gum Cigars
- Chocolate Gold Coins
- Mini Boxes of Junior Mints
- “Lip” Whistles
- Biplane “Whizzers”
- French Flags
We instructed our guests that whenever they hear the line, “Here’s looking at you, Kid,” they take a sip of champagne. Whenever a film character smokes a cigarette, enjoy your chocolate ciggies or gum cigars. When Rick and Ilsa kiss, blow the lip whistles! When you see and hear the propellers of the “plane to Lisbon,” use your Biplane Whizzers. When Rick goes to the Roulette Table, throw your Chocolate Coins on the table. And during the famous scene in the café when they all drown out the Nazis by singing Les Marseilles, wave your French flag!
The purpose of the Junior Mints? I can’t stand to watch a movie without them. Since the room had to be darkened to show the film, we also included little flashlights in each bag. I found these online for a buck a piece, including the batteries. I got the flags from a flag company and the whistles and whizzers from Oriental Trading.
We sent out invitations asking people to come in forties attire if they desire. Our party was a major success. Guests keep calling and saying how much they loved the candy and the props. I was sure to order quality candy from CandyFavorites. Inside the candy bags, I had a little instruction sheet and also some trivia about the film itself. Believe it or not, some people were seeing this gem for the first time!
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 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.
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.
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
Sweetly fall into the gender roles of the 1960’s by providing the ladies of your premiere party with wax lips, and Sugar Daddy’s. You know, while the men talk business. You can even enjoy the exact same treats featured in the show! In a 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.
There’s something about old fashioned candy that immediately transports everyone with a demanding sweet tooth back to the days of picking out their favorite treat at the corner store.
CandyFavorites.com specializes in reviving sweet memories with the internet’s largest selection of retro candy. In fact, browsing through our site is much like taking a quick lesson in the history of candy.
Most candy connoisseurs have a definite product in mind when they turn to the Internet to find their favorite candy. If that item falls under the retro candy genre, they might even have a specific timeframe in mind especially if they are looking for candy for an anniversary or special birthday!
Instead of forcing shoppers to waste valuable time browsing through page after page of random choices, we have organized our vintage sweets by the original date of manufacturer which we call our Shop by Decades Retro Candy Section.
If you’d like a more extensive look at how candy has evolved through the years, don’t forget to click on the confectionary timeline as you will be amazed at how much candy has stayed the same and changed over the past hundred years!
Take a walk along the candy timeline today for a tasty reminder of your childhood or to introduce your kids to a sweet treat from a past era.
We have long believed that the future of candy is rooted in the past…..
Denture Danger: 10
Primrose Candy Company’s Black Taffy is not what you might expect. For starters, the candy itself has only an accent of black color. This is a salt water taffy type candy, but every pieces holds the unmistakable flavor of black licorice. The candy itself is aesthetically pleasing, a peach colored ring around a black center and dash of red coloring on the side.
Some might see this black taffy and think, “Oh, Black Jack! I remember that classic candy!” The original Black Jack (that you can now get in Beedies gum form) is no longer made in candy form, but at least you have this Black Taffy to bring nostalgia to the tip of your tongue.
The Zero Bar is not your average candy bar as it is a candy with a history spanning over 70 years!
It was first introduced in the 1920’s by the now defunct Hollywood Brands Candy Company and is now owned by Hershey Foods although this transition took place over many years and included many owners in between.
The candy bar is unique in that it consists of a delicious amalgamation of almonds, peanuts and caramel nougat covered, or shall we say , drenched, with delicious white fudge. This was even more controversial upon its release as most candy bars then, as now, are coated in milk chocolate.
As per the name, this has been the subject of candy lore as it was not touted as a reduced calorie candy bar – hence the name Zero – but rather because the white coating was supposed to give the impression of snow and, metaphorically speaking, “cool as zero degrees”
The original wrapper had a Polar Bear on it and upon it’s initial release, was called Double Zero. It wasn’t until 1934 that it formally became known as the Zero Bar
The original Zero Bars were distributed in the summer as fudge has a much higher melting point than milk chocolate and, as there wasn’t air conditioning readily available when the bar was first released; retailers stored this in their refrigerators.
Yes, this candy bar like others will melt if exposed to high temperatures but there is something intriguing about this bar that makes it endure as a classic if only because it is delicious and holds true to it’s original formula and because it is over 70 years old!
PS: The vintage Zero Bar wrapper pictured above is VERY rare as it shows the Polar Bear! This is circa early 1930’s
Denture Danger: 10
I’m in love with Mary Jane.
She’s my main thing.
She makes me feel alright.
She makes my heart sing.
This Mary Jane I am referring to could be Spiderman’s woman or a certain plant, but instead it is NECCO’s classic peanut buttery, molasses flavored, chewy rectangle.
It all began with Charles H. Miller and his three sons. The Millers started a small candy manufacturing business in Boston in 1884. The building in which this business blossomed from was Paul Revere’s house until 1800. (For those who haven’t been to history class any time in the last decade: In 1775 Paul Revere made the famous ride from Boston to Lexington to warn the people in the countryside that the British were coming.)
In 1914 after Charles had died and the Miller boys had taken full responsibility of the family business, the Mary Janes hit the market. The candy was named after their favorite aunt, Susan. Just kidding, her name was Mary Jane.
The Miller Company tried its best to create variations of the Mary Jane, but all paled in comparison to the original. The Miller Company tried its best to manufacture other popular candies, but again, they all paled in comparison to the Mary Jane. Eventually, after failed attempts at variety, Mary Jane was the only candy that the Miller Company produced.
NECCO was lucky to take control of the Mary Jane in 1990, as Mary Jane is a poster child of the New England Confectionary Company. Nostalgia blooms when we talk about our love for Mary Jane.