Candy Making in the Southern Tier is Alive and Well
The Binghamton area has a rich sweet history making candy. In fact, Broome County candy making dates back to the mid-19th century.
One of the earliest know confectionaries was Hoag & Titchener & Company, who began making candies in Binghamton in 1885. Then there was E.P. Hopton, who founded the Ideal Candy Company in 1914 in Johnson City, New York. In the 1920’s Ideal was sold and renamed Fair Play Caramel Company. Known for their famous taffy on a stick, banana, chocolate, peanut butter and strawberry BB Bats were a big national seller. I recall my mother telling me how the workers at Fair Play would open their windows on lunch breaks and throw down hundreds of BB Bats to the kids waiting below the second story window. When Fair Play closed its doors, it sold the BB Bats recipe and over 3,000 candy wrapping machines. Today the Southern Tier candy is made in Paducah, Kentucky, using some of the original candy making machines. BB Bats and other vintage candy is available locally at CandyLand, inside the popular Windy Hill Candle Factory in Port Crane, New York. On line at www.4GreatCandy.com
Another popular candy stop on your list should be Somethin’ Sweet Gourmet on Harry L. Drive, Johnson City. Somethin’ Sweet Gourmet was founded by a mother and daughter, specializing in hand made chocolates, chocolate covered caramel apples, wedding favors and gift baskets. Their chocolate barks are something that must be tried by everyone in the Southern Tier. www.somethinsweetgourmet.com
The popular Chocolates by Leopold, once located in Downtown Binghamton’s Metro Center, now on Church Street in historic Montrose, PA, uses fourth generation German recipes that give the candy lover, more flavor with less sugar and no fillers. Leopold’s signature candy is butter crunch, with the secret being in raw almonds roasted in butter. Yum! www.chocolatesbyleopold.com
No matter what time of year it is, candy makes a popular gift. And with the Southern Tier being so rich in locally made options, it’s nice to know that modern confectionaries are keeping the tradition alive. Now if you excuse me, I have some chocolate bark that I must go buy.