5 Fun Facts About Taffy
Taffy has been a fan-favorite confection since the 19th century. It’s everything from a seashore staple to a birthday party favor, Easter basket stuffer, and Halloween bag treat. But it’s also sort of a mystery. So here are five fun facts about the beloved taffy candy.
- Making Taffy is Hard Work (or at least was)
Most taffy makers are still using the same pulling process that was used over 100 years ago, which involves combining sugar, butter, and a type of vegetable oil and then boiling it together to create a sticky, goo-like mixture. The flavor and food coloring are then added to create each taffy’s unique taste and vibrant color before it’s left to cool. Then the real work begins: pulling! The taffy is repeatedly folded and stretched to aerate the confection and make it easier to chew. Finally, it’s laid out in a long rope to be cut into small pieces or even braided before being wrapped in wax paper.
For those confectionery masters who choose to modernize their process, technology has made it possible to produce 1,000 pieces of taffy per minute. The more taffy, the better!
- The Origin of Salt Water Taffy is Still Unknown
For the record, Salt Water Taffy is not made with salt water. There really is no difference between it and regular taffy, but seaside towns really capitalized on the name as time went on. And while the origin is still a mystery, there is one popular theory people believe:
In 1883, a huge storm hit Atlantic City, NJ, flooding the boardwalk. As a result, the entire taffy stock of candy store owner, David Bradley, was covered in ocean salt water. So when a little girl asked if he had any taffy for sale despite the storm, his response was “I have salt water taffy.” And the name stuck (ha). Today, it’s become a shore-related tradition.
- Taffy Pull Parties were a Thing
While kids have always loved playing with taffy as they eat it, in the 19th century, it was actually a whole social event! Commonly held at churches and colleges, these parties would involve a warm kitchen, copper pans, aprons, and napkins. Molasses or sugar was boiled and cooled before people of all ages would butter up their hands and pull the candy over and over for entertainment. The key to it all was timing. Too soon after boiling and it was too hot to handle, but too long after, and it was too hard to shape. The best taffy pullers knew the perfect timing to create the perfect bite.
- The Name “Salt Water Taffy” Started a Major Legal Battle
In the early 1900s, Joseph Fralinger and Enoch James were two big players in the salt water taffy game. Fralinger was credited with boxing the candy and selling it as a souvenir which boosted its popularity, while James cut the taffy into bite-sized pieces, making it easier to unwrap and eat. But in 1923, John Edmiston stepped in and trademarked the name “salt water taffy” so he could get a cut of all taffy sold. After a legal battle between the taffy makers, the Supreme Court ruled that taffy was around for too long and used by too many people for anyone to have royalties. And that was that!
- The Most Popular Flavors include…
Vanilla, Peppermint, Banana, Cinnamon, Cotton Candy, and Chocolate!
Does this article have you craving taffy? Don’t worry! Royal Wholesale has a mouthwatering selection of Taffy from the masters like Kits, Laffy Taffy, Gimbal and more. Stock up on all your favorites today!