I was heading home in a cab this past Saturday night, watching one of those in-taxi televisions (I love those things), when I was reminded of one of my favorite Chicago topics: candy and snacks. That, combined with my inner fat kid's extreme sweet tooth, is what brings us this week's fun facts.
Twinkies (the heavenly food that sparked this post) were invented in River Forest in 1930. Originally a creation by a baker at the Continental Baking Company, Twinkies resulted from strawberry shortcake machines that were turned off when strawberries were out of season. This baker decided to fill cakes with banana cream and name this new snack Twinkies. Bananas were rationed during World War II, so the banana cream was switched to vanilla.
I thought Tootsie Rolls were a Chicago candy, but I found out that it was actually invented in 1896 by an Austrian immigrant in New York City. It came to Chicago through a series of acquisitions and moves.
Even though so many of the stores have closed, Fannie May is still a Chicago institution. The first Fannie May store opened in downtown Chicago in 1920 and expanded from there. The company's most famous and orgasmic creation, the Pixie, was created just after World War II, and the yummy Trinidad was introduced in 1970. Sadly, Fannie May's parent company went bankrupt, and the confections company was purchased by Alpine Confections, Inc. and moved to North Canton, Ohio. But our beloved Fannie May came back in 2006 when it was sold to 1-800 Flowers, and the headquarters were moved back to Chicago.
You know that amazing chocolate smell that wafts through the downtown area on a breezy day? That's from the Blommer Chocolate Factory. (Side note: I want to punch anyone who actually complains about that. The chocolate smell is delicious and covers up some of the not-so-appealing scents floating around the city.) The company was founded in Chicago in 1939 by the Blommer brothers, and it still remains a family business. Today, it's the largest cocoa processor and ingredient chocolate supplier in North America.
I leave you with this image:
Oh yes, it's a deep fried Twinkie, and it needs to be on your bucket list.
Filed under: Did You Know, Chicago?
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