What do a candy and a beach resort have in common? If it's Salt Water Taffy and Atlantic City, it's more than just something in common… it's synonymous. Many people don't even know why they picture the colorful wrappers and sticky confection when "Atlantic City" is mentioned. Like the world-famous Boardwalk, they just go hand in hand.
Salt Water Taffy could indeed be the candy that took Atlantic City by storm, literally. Stories abound about its origin, and it seems as though historians have finally come to agree, with fingers pointing to one David Bradley.
The year was 1880. Mr. Bradley, a young candy merchant, had a stand on the Boardwalk. One night the little stand, which was only a couple steps from the sand, was swamped by an evening storm. The next morning, Bradley came to work to find his candy soaked and, as one can imagine, was slightly perturbed. Later that day, when a child came and asked for some taffy, he replied sarcastically, "You mean Salt Water Taffy, don't you?" Bradley's mother apparently overheard the remark and happily suggested that it would be a great new name for his taffy. Bradley asked, "Who would want to eat candy soaked with ocean water?" His mother replied, "Don't make it with ocean water, just use salt water and call it that." And just like taffy to teeth, it stuck.
The following summer proved to be a candy land of business for Bradley and his new business partner John Cassady. Visitors from all over the world flocked to the world's newest and most exciting beach resort and came home with stories of a certain delightful candy called “Salt Water Taffy." The rest is history.
With the development by James’ Original Salt Water Taffy of a standard recipe that "would not pull out the teeth," to state-of-the-art manufacturing processes, the famous confection throughout the years has been perfected, revolutionized and pulled. New and outrageous flavors have been produced, with everything from root beer to lime to chocolate-covered. Today, some of the original makers of the chewy treat are staples along the world-famous Boardwalk.
One of the most famous originals, James’ Original Salt Water Taffy, is still manufactured in Atlantic City and supplies the confection to locations in Atlantic City, Stone Harbor and Wildwood. James’ has been a family owned and operated Boardwalk business since the 1920s and offers a mouth-watering selection complete with gift baskets and custom wrapping.
Mail-order gifts can be purchased by phone at (609) 344-1519 or through their web site at www.jamescandy.com.
The Boardwalk Peanut Shoppe, another Atlantic City icon, has four locations on the Boardwalk. They specialize in seashore-styled items such as the Seashore Treasure Bucket of taffy, and a miniature lifeguard boat filled with a variety of sweet treats. Gifts can be ordered by phone at (609) 272-1511 or through their web site at www.boardwalkpeanuts.com.
It would be interesting to note what the resort's founders from long ago would have to say about the confection phenomena that will be forever entwined with their city. They pictured a land of sand and surf. Did they ever imagine a land of taffy? One can always chew on it!