Under the Boardwalk: Taffy and Fudge

Hi Dessert Oasis,

Why is it that every lake/beach/ocean vacation destination has some shop that sells fudge and taffy? Like not just in major destinations, but also in some tiny little town in the middle of nowhere Minnesota?

Trying to keep my beach body, but how?

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Dearest Beach Body,

It is so true! Try to get away on a summer trip and everywhere you look there are Taffy and Fudge, Fudge and Taffy (saltwater taffy to be exact) beckoning you like evil twins trying to push your bikini physique closer to sweater weather. Every summer resort-y town seems to have some kind of oldtimey shoppe with handmade confections. But why are they centered in these towns and not so much in metropolitan cities?

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It might be that hanging out in salty ocean air all day gives people a craving for something sweet? Maybe it’s the fact that taffy and fudge don’t dry out quickly in humid/beach conditions so they make good souvenirs?

Maybe, maybe, but basic bottom line: tiny beachy towns are riding the confectionary coattails of major players like Atlantic City and Mackinac Island, and Atlantic City saltwater taffy and Mackinac Island fudge play on tourist nostalgia for simpler times and vacation indulgences.

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Taffy and fudge have pretty minimal ingredients, recipes that haven’t changed much in over 100 years, and there really aren’t any corporate companies selling these treats, so small candy shops can make the taffy/fudge right there in the shop and not worry about mass-produced competition. The entertainment value of watching taffy pulls or stirring a big copper pot along with the sweet smells is an easy win win as window shoppers are drawn in to the store. And then…. might as well buy something! Oh, you only sell fudge by the half pound? Whatevs, I’m on vacation, let’s do it! Oh, you gave your kid a bag with instructions to choose a few colorful taffies and they came back with it filled to the brim? Whatevs, they’re on vacation!

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Taffy and fudge will help restore your energy after a long day on the water, and will help ease the post-vacation/back-to-work transition (save some for Monday morning!). Pro tip: zap cold fudge in the microwave for about 8 seconds/let it sit on your car dashboard for about 1 minute. *times vary based on microwave/dashboard settings*

And remember, every body is a beach body, just go the beach.
– Dessert Oasis

 

Have a dessert question?  Email me at courtneysconza@gmail.com – from funnel cakes to fondue fountains, if it has sugar, I’ve probably eaten it.

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