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.
The Origins of the Candy Cane
We’ve probably all heard the story of the German choirmaster who created white, sugary shepherd’s hooks to keep the children quiet during the services. But, there are almost as many candy cane creation stories as there are varieties of candy canes!
What’s certain is that these popular Christmas treats were originally all white. Many have attached a religious connection to them, saying that the white candy cane represented the sinlessness of the life of Jesus. As for the shape, many also claim that it’s meant to look like a shepherd’s hook, to remind children of the shepherds who visited the baby Jesus.
Although they were probably created in 1670 in Germany, it wasn’t until 1844 that a recipe for straight candy sticks was published. And in the mid 1800s, candy canes were hung on Christmas trees for the first time. Back in the day, it was common to hang sweets and baked goods from the festive tree, so the candy canes were a perfect addition!
Christmas cards from before and after the 1900s reveal that it wasn’t until the turn of the century that candy canes earned their stripes. There’s lots of lore around the stripes as well, with some saying the thickest stripe represents Jesus, while the three smaller stripes represent the Holy Trinity.
Around the turn of the century, peppermint and wintergreen flavors were also added to the sweets, whose flavors could be distinguished by either a red or green stripe, for peppermint or wintergreen, respectively.
In the 1950s, a Catholic priest by the name of Gregory Keller invented an automated candy cane machine, to twist the candies into their popular shape. And since then, there’s been no looking back.
Today, candy canes are arguably the most popular holiday candy with the longest-standing history. And they’re not just peppermint and wintergreen anymore. Check out all of the canes we have to offer. You’re sure to find something for every candy-cane-craving sweet tooth.
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.
Cordialed cherries have always been a huge hit around the holidays. They’re sweet and perfectly festive- a treat normally reserved for this time of year. But did you realize just how old the method of cordialing is? If not, let’s just say that it’s a little older than you may be expecting.
Cordials for the Heart
In fact, cordials started being made hundreds of years ago, during the Renaissance. They were originally made for medicinal purposes, as the strong flavor was thought to promote health. The meaning of the word itself betrays earlier thoughts that cordials were good for the heart, as “cor” means heart in Latin.
First produced in Italy, this heart-helping drink slowly spread its influence throughout all of Europe. And, over time, this purely medicinal beverage became something of a social-statement, as cordials evolved into what we know today as liquors.
Cordials and Candy
Liquors are often the perfect remedy to a cold winters night, so it’s no surprise that home cooks soon began soaking their fruits in the stuff! What could be more delicious and practical than liquor that you can both drink and make candy with? Our forefathers really knew what they were doing.
Generations of cordial recipes have been passed down over the years, and many families still make their own, today. Cherries tend to be the most popular cordialed fruit, as the cherry lends itself well to soaking and then being smothered in chocolate. But cordialing takes time- months in fact, to wait for the fruit to sufficiently imbibe itself with the delicious liquor it’s soaking in. And who wants to wait for that? So if waiting is not quite your thing, check out Brach’s Villa Cherries. They might be just what you need to remind yourself of holidays of old.
This year, treat yourself and your loved ones to a taste that has almost outlasted the test of time. Be sure to add cordialed cherries to your shopping list.
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.
Few things are sweeter at Christmas time than a handful of candy. Everyone has a favorite holiday treat that they look forward to all year round. There’s just something especially nice about savoring a candy that only comes by for special occasions. And while we can’t imagine ringing in the Yule-tide feelings without a sugary treat or two, it wasn’t always this way.
Old Fashioned Sweetness
While people have been enjoying sweets for centuries, the first mention of Christmas candy came in the form of candy canes. In 1672, the choirmaster of the Cologne Cathedral created white, sugary sticks to keep the children quiet in his church. These boring white staffs morphed over the years into the hooked, red and white striped favorites we know today – and they still have the remarkable ability to hush any whiny mouth.
Over the years, the tradition of cut rock candy has remained a staple of Christmas festivities. Decades of grandmothers have known the secrets behind whipping up the perfect batch of sugary confections: ribbons, bows, and disks, all dyed and pulled to perfection. It’s a tough job, but somebody had to do it!
Luckily, with our Old Fashioned Christmas Candy Mix, you never have to worry if your sugar has reached the proper boiling point. You can have all your favorite Christmas candies, with none of the sugar-burning disasters.
Old Fashioned, Not Outdated
And speaking of great candies, if you enjoy nostalgic confections, you should take a look at our Americana Penny Candy Mix. Chock-full of sweets you may remember as a kid, this is one mix that shouldn’t be missed.
Around the holidays, we celebrate the things we hold most dear: family, friends, and the candies we grew up loving as children. With our Old Fashioned Christmas Mix, you can help make Christmas traditions come true.
Announcing a new Christmas Candy favorite!
Most of our top-10 bestselling candies year after year are Brach’s candies like Butterscotch Disks, Villa Cherries, and Ice Blue Mint Coolers. But every year, there’s one candy mix — only sold at CandyFavorites.com — that manages to rank among those established favorites. Penny Candy Americana Mix delivers joy to everyone who encounters it by bringing back the tastes of childhood for all ages.
What better time for the wonderful magic of rediscovery than Christmas morning?
This year, we’re excited to introduce Christmas Candy Americana Mix!
A Mixed History
The history of Christmas candy in America is one that can bring back fond memories for almost anyone, as everyone seems to have their own personal Christmas candy history and experiences. Our love of Christmas candy in America stretches back many generations, linking families and taste buds for over a century.
Did you know that the first mention of candy canes in America was in 1847? A German immigrant by the name of August Imgard decorated his Christmas tree with them in that year, and they’ve been a perennial Christmas favorite in the U.S., ever since.
In fact, Americans are pretty traditional when it comes to their candy favorites. Our Americana Penny Candy Mix pays tribute to some of the oldest and most revered candies in America.
Would you believe that most of the top-selling candies in America today were first introduced before World War II? It’s true, and for good reason. If you have a good thing, why bother changing it? And, in the early part of the 20th century, America was brimming with delicious, new chocolates and candies.
Twizzlers and Hershey Bars have been in production since 1845 and 1900, respectively. These top candies are an ongoing testament that our appreciation of quintessentially Americana candy runs deep.
When it comes to Christmas candy, we Americans are devoted to our time-tested favorites. Everyone seems to love biting into a candy that reminds them of the magic of Christmases in their childhood. There’s something really sweet about revisiting those memories of a time when Spearmint Leaves cost a penny and Hershey bars went for only a nickel.
Our brand new Christmas Candy Americana Mix evokes all of the nostalgic thoughts of yesteryear, with a little bit of everything inside. So when you bite into one of these candies, you know you’re tasting some of the best that American Christmas candy has to offer.
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.