The history of taffy begins in the early 1800s in the United States. However, not one person is credited for originating this popular treat. At that time, taffy candy was called treacle. (Treacle is a form of sugar or syrup – either cane or molasses-based.) Originally, it was thickened by boiling, made into hard cakes, and then served on a plate. By 1840, everyone wanted a taste of this sweet treat. Because of the nature in which taffy is made, taffy pulls were a favorite pastime. And parties were held just for their taffy-pulling events.
By 1880, it had become a sensation on the Atlantic City boardwalk. However, taffy was known to have been sold in both the Midwest and Atlantic City in the year 1880. Taffy was actually vended at fairs that toured in the Midwest at the time. The taffy candies were no longer simply eaten from a plate. Pieces of taffy were now individually wrapped and packaged in small bags and sold on the East Coast.
The Origin of Saltwater Taffy
Saltwater taffy is just a name. It is the same taffy that has been circulating throughout the United States since the early 1800s. But, according to legend… “In 1883, David Bradley, a boardwalk vendor, had his store damaged by crashing waves from the Atlantic Ocean after a bad storm with his entire inventory of taffy being soaked by the ocean water. The next morning, his first customer, a young girl, asked for a package of taffy. As he handed the taffy to her, he reportedly said, “You mean saltwater taffy, don’t you?” Her mother overheard the remark and told him he would be foolish not to jump on the bandwagon with that name. And the name stuck.”
Saltwater taffy continues to be a favorite and now comes in a variety of flavors, including licorice taffy. It is composed of sugar, cornstarch, corn syrup, glycerin, water, butter, salt, flavor, and food color. Flavoring is added (e.g., vanilla, chocolate, banana, lemon, maple, and others). And contrary to popular belief, the taffy contains no saltwater (sea water)… and never did.
Annabelle Candy Company has its own popular taffy candy bar called Abba-Zaba®. Consisting of thick, chewy taffy with a rich, creamy peanut butter center, it is a favorite on the West Coast setting records in sales. So, you see, taffy history is still being made today.
Annabelle Candy Co., Inc.
Phone: (510) 783-2900
Fax: (510) 785-7675