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?



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?


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.


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!


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.

always something to celebrate!


Dear Dessert Oasis,

You often post in celebration of dessert holidays (of which there are a plethora!), which helps me to ensure that I am doing my part to honor these special days. Do you know of any comprehensive calendar that lists these holidays? While I greatly appreciate that I can rely on you to keep me informed of dessert holidays, I feel somewhat abashed that I’m not prepared in advance for my favorite ones. (What better way to celebrate National Chocolate Chip Cookie day then baking your own! But alas, it’s Sunday at 11pm and I have no chocolate chips or butter….)

Yours truly in celebration of sweets,
Dessert Day Devotee


Dear DDD,

Oooohhh, I feel your pain! Nothing worse than realizing mid-day that it’s National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day and you #1: missed the perfect excuse to eat cookies for breakfast, and #2: have a pantry full of tortilla chips instead of chocolate chips. *tear*

Well fear not, because I’ll get you set for all upcoming dessert holidays so you can prepare in advance! I mean, most holidays incorporate some kind of cake or cookie or candy in the festivities, but holidays where the dessert is the actual focus??!?!? Made up or not, I’m in!

If you are on Instagram, (aside from following @dessert.oasis), I recommend following @itsadayreally. No forewarning there, and dessert holidays are mixed in with a bunch of other holidays (today is May Ray Day???), but they are a good reminder since they post early enough in the morning for you to find some way to celebrate accordingly throughout the day.

For more comprehensive/all-in-one lists, I suggest the following websites:

Both of these pages have searchable calendars along with some foodie facts and history thrown in too, so not only can you plan ahead to celebrate National Devil’s Food Cake Day (TODAY!!!!!), but you can wow your foodie friends with lil morsels like: “A similar cake, the red velvet cake, is closely linked to a devil’s food cake, and in some turn of the century cookbooks the two names may have been interchangeable.” #themoreyouknow

And to make sure you don’t miss anymore May dessert holidays and drown in sugar-free tears before the month is over, here are the most important upcoming national dates to remember:

May 22 – National Vanilla Pudding Day
May 23 – National Taffy Day
May 26 – National Blueberry Cheesecake Day
May 27 – National Grape Popsicle Day (i’ll be skipping this one…)
May 31 – National Macaroon Day

Now go get some Devil’s Food for lunch!!!

Celebratorily yours,
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.