Every summer we run into lots of questions about the background and history of Saltwater Taffy so we’d like to take a minute to share some fun facts and interesting background information for this sweet, pullable, poppable, unstoppable treat!
Why is it called “Saltwater Taffy”?
This unique candy is said to have received its name after a boardwalk candy shop flooded with water from the Atlantic Ocean in the late 19th century, soaking all the taffy in salty seawater. Reportedly the shop owner, David Bradley, joked with a little girl that had come in to purchase taffy, that all he had was “salt water” taffy, and the name caught on.
What is the difference between taffy, salt water taffy, and toffee?
Since salt water taffy likely gained its moniker following a comment made by a purveyor of candy after the flooding in Atlantic City, there is actually very little difference between salt water taffy and regular taffy. However, at Cabot’s Candy we use small amounts of locally sourced Cape Cod Sea Salt to make our Saltwater Taffy extra tasty. On the other hand, “Toffee”, is a confection made by caramelizing sugar or molasses along with butter, and occasionally flour. Toffee is not stretched or pulled like Taffy. Taffy and Toffee are completely different types of candies although their names sound similar!
What are the top 10 most popular flavors of Saltwater Taffy at Cabot’s Candy?
- Sea Salt Caramel
- Peanut Butter Molasses
Why does Saltwater Taffy need to be pulled?
Factories and shops that make saltwater taffy pull the taffy into a large (and heavy) whorl because it helps to aerate the taffy by incorporating many tiny air bubbles throughout the candy, lessening the density. The air bubbles make it lighter and chewier - easy to pop into your mouth and enjoy!
How is Saltwater Taffy made?
Traditional salt water taffy production starts by boiling a variety of sugars in a large copper kettle pot to a high temperature. Then, the sugary mass goes through an aeration process to capture tiny bubbles in the candy. This makes it softer and less tacky.
Does Saltwater Taffy need to be hand-pulled or machine pulled? Which makes a better taffy?
Saltwater taffy needs to be pulled to allow the taffy to aerate with small bubbles which makes it lighter and easier to chew. Whether hand-pulled against a taffy hook or machine pulled on a taffy puller the result is the same as long as it has been pulled for the correct length of time (but don’t tell your arms that!)!
Why is Saltwater Taffy so popular at vacation destinations?
Saltwater taffy is a popular treat all times of the year but it is especially well-loved at the beach because it is a treat that one may not come across during the year or at least in such a variety and as beautifully displayed. Vacationers also tend to want to enjoy and take part in the local fare found at the beach and since the salt air is all around, what would be better than to pop a few pieces of delicious “Saltwater” taffy!
Who is arguably the most famous fan of Saltwater Taffy?
Frank Sinatra! Reportedly in 1978, Old Blue Eyes ordered more than 500 boxes of salt water taffy from a well-known local Atlantic City candy company, taking the record for the biggest single mail order of this popular sweet. He had apparently ordered the boxes of salt water taffy in his favorite flavors (vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry - individually wrapped or Neapolitan, we don’t know!) to be delivered to his friends and relatives as a commemoration of his show in Atlantic City.
We hope that you might be able to visit our shop located at 276 Commercial Street in beautiful Provincetown, Massachusetts this summer but if you are unable to see us in person let us bring the cape to you! Please visit our main website page where you can pick through a variety of taffy, fudge, brittle, and bulk candies.