The History of Taffy

The history of taffy candy begins in the early 1800s. At the time, taffy was called treacle, and had been thickened by boiling and made into hard cakes. A treacle is a form of sugar or syrup-either cane or molasses based.

It wasn't long after taffy was created that it became a specialty item. By 1840, everyone wanted a taste of this sweet treat. Because of the nature in which you make taffy, it also became a pastime with taffy pulls.

Boardwalk Taffy
Taffy was destined to evolve into something much more than a sweet concoction. By 1880, it had become a sensation on the Atlantic City boardwalk. 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 coast.

Salt Water Taffy
Salt water taffy is the same taffy that's been circulating through the states since the early 1800s. By 1883, the only thing that had changed was its name. According to boardwalk vendor David Bradley, his store was damaged by crashing waves after a bad storm. The next morning, his first customer asked for a package of taffy. As he handed the taffy to her, he reportedly said, "You mean salt water taffy, don't you?"

A woman standing nearby apparently heard his remark and told him he would be foolish not to jump on the bandwagon with that name.

Salt water taffy continues to be a favorite and now comes in a variety of flavors, including Blackjack or licorice taffy-which is flavored with licorice and anise. While the name of this taffy remains salt water, not all salt water taffy has salt in it. The main ingredients are sugar, water and corn syrup.

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