Sunday, December 23, 2012

Candy Canes

Candy canes have always been one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season.    The simple brightly colored - red and white, peppermint flavored candy makes me smile.    Like a lollipop you can savor one for hours.  As much as I like them until this week I’d never wondered about their origins.  Little did I know that there is a website dedicated to candy canes, (, that December 26 is National Candy Cane day or that over two billion candy canes are sold annually in the US alone.

The origins of this red and white striped candy date back to 1672.   The story is that a German choirmaster wanted something to keep the children in the choir quiet.   He enlisted a candy maker to create something special.  The originals were solid white.  They were used to please the children and to serve as decorations on Christmas trees.  It wasn’t until around 1900 that the red stripe was added creating the candy we know today.  Although there can be a religious interpretation to the shape and colors of the cane, for many it is simply a holiday treat. (

If you want to see how a candy cane is made travel to Columbia, California and reserve some time at Nelson’s Columbia Candy Kitchen.  In 2010 Nelson’s was voted one of the best Sweet Shops in the US by USA Today.  One of their specialties are handmade candy canes.  They make them in the traditional size and shape but more exciting are the ones as big as two feet tall or wreaths woven from the the red and white candy,  If you’re at the store in late November you can watch them being made or join the candy makers and create your own.   That’s a real holiday treat.

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