This is my first concentrated effort at eating salt water taffy. Most pieces I've had were older mementos of other people's vacations, they bought a tin off the shelf and passed it around at work after visiting the shore. Needless to say, I was not impressed with the old, sticky, stale tasting substance that arrived via smelly suitcase.
My real obsession with taffy began when I was just in grade school, along with all the "watermelon," "fire," or "grape" flavored junk out there, now replaced by "blue raspberry" and "sour apple" as more modern day standards of hip flavor.
Laffy Taffy, their Tangy Taffy, was all the rage with me. Chewy, stringy, a tad crunchy, and able to be frozen and whapped into pieces for easier eating in summer time, I loved to get my hands on that gooey mess.
Taffy Town, which I tried courtesy of Jeanna, is in a whole other sphere from the mass market kid-appeal brands. From the wrapper to the flavor and essence, it's in a class of its own. The waxy wrapper, a strange white translucent, mutes the color of the candy while still giving a hint of what you'll find inside.
The logo, which I can only describe as "bubbly," reminds me of a Looney Tunes title freeze frame. The letters are red, rounded, and shadowed, like the style of letters we used to doodle on our notebooks while the teacher droned on and on in English class; we did it just because it was "cool."
Upon first impression, the candy isn't remarkable. In solids, stripes, or bulls eye type circles of different colors, unwrapping the paper brings forth pleasant colors, unlike the eye-shocking taffies of my youth. No sugared sprinkles or funny jokes on the wrapper, just an understated candy. What flavor is it? Could I guess? I take a sniff. Hmm. Smells like sugar. No fancy manufactured aroma here. Odd, I think. Then for a bite. It takes a while for the flavor to assault me, and then, it's more like a mild case of battery than a near homicide. It's like the company divined the juices of the fruit, deliberately mixed the combo so it was just a hint of flavor, and called it a day.
That's when it hits me, this tastes like fruit, not artificial chemicals. Interesting...here are my impressions so far:
Peach colored—This one took me a while to place, and then I realized with a light bulb: Apricot! A far cry from any similar candy out there. No fake taste, much better than competing fruit chews like Starburst, though they have long been a favorite, they just can't do apricot like this. Surprisingly yummy.
Tan colored—If I hazard a guess I would say they were going for caramel here. Definitely not chocolate, and not the hard edge of toffee. A rich, full flavor in your mouth, could be used as a dessert by itself, leaves you wanting nothing.
Solid Yellow—Hmm. Lemon. My husband hates lemon stuff, even the smell makes him cringe and back away, but I suspect even he could eat this. Crisp, light, not overbearing.
Two Tone Pink Striped—Again, this takes a while to digest, not as perfect a flavor as the others, but strawberry. This one borders on artificial, but nothing like heavily marketed brands. Good consistency, sweet, but not overly so, and soft in your mouth.
Blue—Raspberry, no doubt about it, lightly flavored, much better than rival "blue" candies. I was surprised that this one was blue, from the flavor I would suspect a dark rose instead.
Then comes the shocker, Pink with White stripes and Speckles—Cinnamon so strong it almost knocks me down. I think it must have crushed Red Hot candies in it. I try drinks, but nothing helps. Ten minutes later, my mouth is still burning. That one should have a warning label.And a disappointment, an Orange and Cinnamon colored circle that stumps me. I have no clue. I put the other half back in the bag for my husband to try and promptly forgot to give it to him. I'll remember later.
Yellow and White Stripe—This one digests slowly, pineapple, maybe. Mild flavor, but pineapple usually is. Not even as strong as the Dum Dum Pops, which are pretty mild and the only pineapple flavor I can really remember having.
I have several more to try, but overall, here is my conclusion about Taffy Town: Excellent. The cinnamon should have a warning label, and a discreet flavor label might have helped me out, or I guess the packaging if I'd had any would have been a clue. I can see these being sold in gift boxes like chocolates for Valentines Day (nothing says I love you like sticky lips).
If you're into overbuilt flavors manufactured for kids, these aren't for you. Something discreet and classy to keep on your desk at work? You bet. Your grandmother would love them and probably wistfully talk about the shore with a faraway look in her eyes. While I was thinking this was a newer company, I couldn't be more wrong.
With seven decades of time behind them and hundreds of flavors, TT is a feature in Utah's Top 100 and you can even tour the factory there.
My suspicion is that the cinnamon/orange looking one is actually rum from the tropical line and that the pineapple is not pineapple, but something else entirely. Still, though, I have had immense fun trying to figure out the nuances in my Ziploc baggie.
I can't wait to dive into the rest of the flavors, and check out what else is in the bag. Check out Taffy Town if you get the chance, you'll be glad you did.
Editor's Note: This was candy from the All Candy Expo press kit. Be sure to visit Jill at her blog, The Adventures of Lil Mouse.