When you hear “October” and “candy,” you probably think “Halloween.”
And why not? Halloween is big business here in the Bucks County milk chocolate world, big business for anyone who makes and sells candy.
But for a brief period in the earlier part of the 20th century, people celebrated a holiday called “Sweetest Day” on the third Saturday in October.
In fact, if you find yourself in Cleveland or Buffalo on that date, you might find an official Sweetest Day celebration happening.
In this blog post, we’ll look at the unusual history of this forgotten holiday.
Continue Reading Sweetest Day – America’s Forgotten Holiday
Although chocolate has been around for centuries, chocolate molds, like the personalized chocolate molds we sell in Bucks County, are a relatively new phenomenon.
We’ve talked quite a bit here on the history of different candies, but we haven’t really touched on chocolate molds. So in this blog post, we’re traveling to 19th century Europe to explore this unique form of candy-making.
Continue Reading How Chocolate Molds Came into Being
In our last blog post, we discussed the history of saltwater taffy and how it got its name, and its origins as a favorite treat among boardwalk visitors.
We’d wager that part of the charm of buying taffy when you’re at the shore is seeing it made. Machinery at work, pulling large ropes of taffy is quite a sight to see.
At first sight, you may wonder “What’s going on there?”
Throughout our history, as we grew to be an iconic candy maker in the Philadelphia area, stories of taffy making at the shore have traveled far and wide. Having candy locations at the shore and just north of Philadelphia, we still hear them.
In this blog post, we’ll look at the hows and whys of taffy making.
Continue Reading How is Taffy Made?
Last year, Stutz celebrated a milestone not every business gets to enjoy: 80 years in business.
It’s a fascinating history. We started off making chocolate in a garage in Jenkintown, and now operate three stores: two in the Philadelphia area and one at the Jersey Shore.
We’re proud to be a part of local food history, and no discussion of that history is complete without mentioning two things: fudge, saltwater taffy, and their connection to the shore.
Continue Reading The King and Queen of Confection from Long Beach Island to Cape May
Spend enough time reading our thoughts on dark chocolate, Bucks County, and you’ll realize that we love talking about the history of our favorite confection.
Regular readers of the blog know that history stretches back to the pre-Colonial Americas, when the Mayans and Aztec enjoyed an unsweetened chocolate drink that they’d flavor with things like hot peppers and corn meal.
In fact, we get the word chocolate itself from the Mayan word for “bitter water”: xocoatl. The Mayans saw cacao – the chief ingredient in chocolate – as a valuable symbol of life.
So valuable, in fact, that they may have used chocolate as currency.
Continue Reading Paying With Chocolate: A Sweet History Lesson
It’s hard to compete with Halloween when it comes to candy, but every year, Easter gives October 31 a run for its money.
In 2018, we as a nation bought more than $2 billion worth of marshmallow chicks, jelly beans and chocolate eggs and bunnies. There’s no reason to think Americans won’t repeat that pattern this year. (At least we in the Bucks County chocolate molds world hope they will.)
But how did this happen? How is it that Easter – which began as a religious celebration of new life and rebirth – become a reliable source of revenue for candy makers?
It’s time for one of our candy-related history lessons. Let’s look at the connection between Easter and Easter candy.
Continue Reading Why Do We Give Candy for Easter?
This Valentine’s Day, people will give their sweethearts countless sweet gifts, including milk and
1800s New Orleans
dark chocolate. Montgomery County is filled with people searching for just the right gift.
And maybe during their search, they stop and ask themselves “Why do we celebrate this day? And who was Valentine, anyway?”
Some people have come to deride Valentine’s Day as a “Hallmark holiday,” but it’s actually a tradition that goes back more than 1,500 years.
This is the story of Valentine’s Day.
Continue Reading Who Was St. Valentine?
Halloween is a big holiday, one that we’re willing to spend billions of dollars each year to celebrate.
It’s also old holiday, dating back thousands of years to the Celts, people who lived in what is now Ireland and the UK. Many of the things were now associate with Halloween have their roots in Celtic traditions. For example:
- The Celts celebrated their new year and the end of harvest on November 1. They believed that on the night before the new year, ghosts would return to earth. To celebrate the event, they lit large bonfires and dressed in costumes.
- When the Romans conquered the Celts, they merged some of their festivals, including a day to honor the fruit goddess Pomona. Her symbol is an apple, which could be where we get the practice of bobbing for apples.
- The jack-o-lantern comes from another Irish legend, the story of “Stingy Jack,” a man forced to wander the earth, using a piece of coal inside a hollowed out turnip to light his way. (When Irish immigrants came to America, they found that pumpkins made for better jack-o-lanterns.)
You might have noticed that in all of this history, we haven’t mentioned candy or trick-or-treating. That’s because as old as Halloween is, trick-or-treating as we recognize it today is a relatively new phenomenon, and one that didn’t always include candy.
In fact, there was a time when Americans celebrated a candy-related holiday that had nothing to do with Halloween at all.
Continue Reading Why Candy is Such a Big Part of Halloween
We may never know who discovered cocoa in the Amazon 4,000 years ago, but we owe them a debt.
Without that person, we might not be here writing this post. The Stutz company might have made shoes or sold insurance.
But how did we get from the cocoa prized by the Aztecs and Mayans to the boxed chocolates we all enjoy today? It’s the start of the school year, so here’s a history lesson on the evolution of chocolate.
Continue Reading The Evolution of Chocolate
As we’ve written before, we find chocolate fascinating.
That’s probably good, given what we do for a living. But it’s true. Our favorite food has a long history and a remarkable story. Here are some interesting facts about chocolate that you might not know.
Continue Reading 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Chocolate