Mention salt water taffy, and a person most likely has images of an Atlantic City boardwalk – and so they should! It’s home to the chewy treat first created in the 1880s and remains synonymous with New Jersey to this day. But what do we know about salt water taffy? Are they really made with salt water?
Not really. Salt and water are ingredients, but not seawater from the Atlantic. Or any ocean for that matter. Other basic ingredients include corn syrup, glycerin and butter, which are boiled down and then pulled to aerate it and convert it into a light and chewy treat that’s eventually rolled and cut. But like half the things we know and love, this treat comes from some not so innocent beginnings.
One rumour involves the optimistic David Bradley. He marketed his confection as ‘salt water taffy’ after a giant storm drenched his entire inventory one night. A similar rumour involves John Admiston who allegedly took the unique name to the US Supreme Court! The courts dismissed the matter, allowing the widespread use of the name salt water taffy we see everywhere today.
Currently, the salt water taffy scene is dominated by the union of Joseph Fralinger and Enoch James who merged into the James Candy Company. While also catering to the macaroon, fudge, and chocolate fiends among us, the company offers a vast range of flavours. These include peppermint, vanilla, banana, watermelon, strawberry, licorice, caramel, cinnamon, and even maple.
A couple of fun facts: did you know they call them chew fruits in the UK, or Halloween kisses if you visit Canada? While the Canadians mostly sell them in October, you don’t have to wait that long to enjoy this seaside treat. May 23rd is National Taffy Day! Why not treat yourself to a mixed bag, or better yet, a bag only full of your absolute favourite flavour! These sweets travel well and have a long shelf life. So you could even send a box to your best friend or to your favourite family member. To my brother, if you’re reading this, I’d be happy with either banana or caramel. Thanks, bro!