Candy is almost its own food group here in Utah. We eat enormous amounts of it in all forms and there are tried and true historical companies here that have been enabling us for years. How many of you have taken a tour of “Taffy Town” as a kid? Glade Candy Company has been around Utah for 97 years but officially changed their name to Taffy Town in 1995. They are famous for that old school, wax-paper wrapped candy sold around the world because they have a whipping and batch process that makes their sweets softer and more melt-in-your-mouth better than their competitors.
Chocolate appeared in Utah shortly after the Mormon’s set up shop in Salt Lake City. One of the largest and most successful chocolate manufacturers was the J.G. McDonald Company. Their large plant closed long ago and in the 1990’s was converted into condos above Squatters on 300 South. The new 2015 Utah Historical Quarterly has a great story of the ‘Chocolate Dippers’ Strike of 1910′ and photos of the place, including the Victorian gardens at the top of the building used as a break room for the workers. McDonald Co. is gone but you can still see artisans dip chocolates at Hatch’s Family Chocolates in the Avenues, V Chocolates and Cummings (to name a few).
The trend for bean-to-bar producer of chocolatiers are all the rage even though cocoa beans aren’t a local crop. In the past few years we’ve seen successful and yummy startups like: Coleman and Davis Artisan Chocolate, top award winner Amano chocolates, Millcreek Cacao Roasters, Park City’s Solstice brand, Crio Bru and Mezzo drinking chocolates. Prop’s to the newly retired Tony Caputo (he’s put son Matt in charge) for originally putting together one of the best selections of local chocolates for dummies like me to choose from, and the expertise of a well trained staff to educate me in what’s yum and what’s extra yum.
When I was a key there were three kinds of chocolate: 1) unsweetened bars of baking chocolate my Nana used in cooking that tasted like crap; 2) imported chocolate at specialty stores in NYC and 3) ‘Whitman Sampler’ boxes. Man am I happy chocolate choices have become so damned delicious and abundant, you?