It is virtually impossible to eat without getting syrup on your face.
How a wave of consolidation lay waste to regional treats like the Fig Pie and the Seven Up Bar In Merriam, Kan., the Russell Sifers Candy Company produces what must be the messiest candy bar in the United States.
The Valomilk, first introduced in 1931, is a thin cup of chocolate filled with vanilla syrup.
At Palmer Candy in Sioux City, Iowa, fleets of workers with ice cream scoops plop a lump of chocolate-and-peanut hash around a cherry fondant to produce the unexpectedly addictive Twin Bing.
Marty Palmer, the fifth generation of Palmers to run the company, has a framed calfskin pennant behind his desk, branded with the legend “Delicious Chocolates Sold Here.” It dates back to the turn of the century. Our jobbers would go in to a dry goods store and peg one of these to the wall.” The Idaho Candy Company in Boise looks more like a museum than a production facility, littered with equipment dating back to the 1900s.
Hershey mass-produced his bars and chocolate “kisses” and sold them in grocery stores and pushcarts. Before long, America’s major cities had their own candy factories, to go along with the local breweries and bakeries.
Boston—for a time the nation’s capital of candy production—boasted an entire street dubbed “Confectioner’s Row,” along with half a dozen chocolate factories.
(The Vegetable Sandwich, whose label contained the bizarre boast “Will Not Constipate,” was introduced during the health craze of the ’20s and died, of natural causes, soon after.) Other bars included the Dipsy Doodle, the Coffee Dan, the Baby Lobster, the Prairie Schooner, the Fig Pie—the list goes on and on.
Still, a handful of candy makers have resisted the corporate scythe and persevered.
Joseph, Mo., the bright pink gobs rolling down the assembly line are the sweet centers of the Cherry Mash.
They have been the flagship of the Chase Candy Company since they were introduced in 1918.
A couple of miles east of downtown Nashville, the Standard Candy Company makes the Goo Goo Cluster, a disc of caramel and marshmallow covered in milk chocolate, dappled with peanuts, then drenched in more chocolate.