The perfect stocking stuff
The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of…… toy candy danced in their heads!
Camel. Eagle. Cat. Frog riding a bicycle. Fireman. Sailing ship. Choo choo train. Rocking horse. Lion. Dog. Monkey. Rabbit. Leaping stag.
Ah, one of those lovely Christmas traditions that makes you smile and assures you that all is right with the world.
Clear toy candy, or “Dierich Orde Glass” (as its Pennsylvania-German origins would have it), is a holiday tradition that dates to the 18th century when lucky children thrilled to receive them.
I had the great opportunity to visit the candy workshop in an 1860s building where these marvels are created in vintage molds, on vintage equipment, and finished with delicate, loving, individual care and attention to each sweet detail.
Brothers Eric and Ryan Berley, the taste-makers behind fabulous step-back-in-time Franklin Fountain in Old City Philadelphia (116 Market Street between Front and Second at the corner of Letitia), purchased more than 250 molds that have been turning out these lovely treats since 1897 at the former Young’s Candies on Girard Avenue. Since then, they have perfected the craft of making the traditional candy confections.
I hope my family isn’t reading this. The toy candies were a childhood tradition for my mother and I have a stockingful of them for her, but it was so hard choosing which of the charming shapes to buy!
Want to thrill your own family and friends and perhaps start a new holiday tradition? Visit Franklin Fountain to see a beautiful display of the large-sized versions of the candy, which were traditionally featured as banquet table decor, then hammered into bite-sized pieces at the end of the meal.
Then browse the baskets and see if you don’t find yourself agonizing between the red scotty dog and the green locomotive….
Candy is available for sale in both large and small sizes, or you can custom order from their vast list of options, including George Washington, an elephant with tusks, an ocean liner, a fabulous reindeer, Santa climbing into the chimney, and more. Orders can be shipped, but visiting the store to pick up your goodies is a great excuse to order the delicious home-made egg nogg ice cream (though my favorite is chocolate chip with their to-die-for hot fudge topping).
Don’t wait! Clear toy candy is only available in the chilly season!