Monday, September 27, 2010

The King of Halloween Candy.

     When we were little, the anticipation of Halloween and trick or treating were almost too much to bear. Even now in my forties I still get excited. Candy in all its forms are doled out in every neighborhood in America.  Little witches, devils, clowns and superheros rush home with their loot, and the smell of jack-o-lanterns swirl above their heads as they seek cover for the night.  Bartering in it's best form, begins as little ones trade Smarties and Tootsie Rolls for the candy of their choice.
      I can remember my sister and I, pouring out our candy to survey our treasure, discarding any candy that was not worthy of being consumed, and building various piles of worthy candy.   First were the coveted candy bars, the best pile.  Then came the lollipops, bubble gum, and licorice.  Then lastly the candy that nobody wants or likes.  For me it was the Tootsie Rolls, Smarties and the Candy corn, which by the way is the King of Halloween candy. No Halloween is complete without candy corn...but what is it?  We all recognize it as the sugary little spikes that ushers in the fall season. 
     Candy corn was invented in the 1880's, by the Wunderlee Candy Company of Philadelphia, but it was Gustav Goelitz, founder of the Goelitz Confectionery Company that perfected the candy and production started in 1898 in Cincinnati, and still to this day are the oldest manufacturers of this Halloween icon.
Making these little sweet cones was not an easy process.  Sugar, water and corn syrup were cooked in large kettles, fondant and marshmallow were whipped in for soft bite and smooth texture. When the mixture reached the right consistency it was poured into large hand-held buckets that each weighed 45 pounds.  Next men called stringers would walk backwards pouring the mixture into cornstarch imprinted with the candy corn mold. Three passes were made, one for white, orange and yellow.  So much work for such a tiny piece of candy, however, the design was revolutionary for its time period and people flocked to buy them.
     Even today they are the staple of the Autumn season. Amazingly enough 20 million pounds of this candy are sold each year, and October 30th is National Candy Corn day, due largely to the fact that candy corn sales skyrocket the day before Halloween.  Whether you enjoy them in autumn or any other time of the year these little treats carved a niche for themselves in Halloween culture and are here to stay.

We are living in a world today where lemonade is made with artificial flavors and furniture polish is made with real lemons.~Alfred E. Neuman


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