By Michelle Killmer
I love candy. I always seem to have this relentless craving for it, so I have to keep a stash in my apartment or else I go crazy. Currently, I have a bowl full of guava-flavored candies and a few Jolly Ranchers on my kitchen table. Seeing as I live down by the shore, though, it’d be slightly un-American to not have any salt water taffy in my possession.
Salt water taffy is a total novelty, and at the same time, a staple of shore life. It’s something almost every tourist will buy and every local will have stored in their cupboards. Some come pre-sorted in boxes marked with the town’s name (in my case, “Greetings from Wildwood”) and some cheesy illustration of a beach chair or something beach-y.
Two nights ago, I felt the need to drag myself off the couch–being sick in a really fun place is totally unnecessary!–and up two blocks to the boardwalk to partake in such a luxury. I walked to this place called Fudge Factory right on the Wildwood boardwalk. They specialize in, well, fudge, as well as other sweet novelties like caramel apples and, more importantly, salt water taffy. With the loose candies and taffies, you work on a build-your-own-bag or –box and they charge you by the pound. Here it’s $9.99 per pound, which sounds like a lot, but considering salt water taffy pieces are generally bite-sized, you get a pretty good portion for those ten bucks.
So why is salt water taffy called salt water taffy? Well, the obvious reason is that it’s made using saltwater. You can taste it when you bite into a piece, but as gross as it sounds, it’s actually pretty delicious. Fudge Factory has thirty different loose flavors ranging from cherry to blueberry to vanilla to chocolate, and all flavors in between. Basically, there’s a flavor for everybody!
While I was there, I bought a little over a pound, and half the box is gone already. The cool part is that I live close enough to go there whenever I want (so me buying that full pound was really not necessary) and I believe they’re open year-round! They’re one of the few businesses on the boardwalk that stay open well past the summer season.
The next time you’re down the shore, visit a candy shop and get yourself some salt water taffy. Go on, satisfy that sweet tooth!
“Short But Sweet, On the Sweets” by Michelle Kilmer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.