candy

Classic Confections: Charleston Chew

Friday, January 21, 2011


 After experimentation with the "Nu Chew" in 1920, the Fox-Cross Candy Company created the candy bar that would make them famous, Charleston Chew. Like the dance craze it was named for, the Charleston Chew became wildly popular and was the first candy bar to take advantage of the home freezer. Consumers were urged to refrigerate or freeze the candy bar and then "crack it up" by smashing it on a hard surface and then enjoy the resulting frozen pieces.



Originally vanilla nougat covered by rich chocolate, new flavors were introduced when the candy bar changed hands in the late 1950s. The candy bar would continue to change hands until it was bought by Tootsie Roll in 1993. 
Despite the different manufacturers, the original vanilla and chocolate bar is said to taste just the same as it did in the 20s. 

Like Junior Mints, Charleston Chew has its place in current American pop culture. The candy bar has been referenced to by Eminem, Futurama and even The Simpsons: 
Lisa: I need some candy for our first playdate, but I don't want to come on too strong.
Bart
: M&M's?
Lisa
: Well, if I pick plain she'll think I'm cheap, and if I pick peanut, she may have an allergy. 
You just killed her, Bart!
Bart
: How about Charleston Chew?
Lisa
: What is this, Brooklyn in the fifties? Don't just say stuff.   
season 20, episode 9

Though Charleston Chew is often the subject of candy related jokes, likely due to it's age and very chewy nature, it's still a very enjoyable classic confection.



The Charleston Chew and I have a long history, it's one of my favorite candy bars. As a kid I'd walk or ride my bike down to the "Save Rite" and pick up one of these giant candy bars, usually the one with the vanilla nougat or the chocolate nougat, for 50 cents. If the candy bar lasted the short walk home, I'd promptly put it into the freezer and anxiously wait for the moment in which I could smash it on the  edge of the counter and enjoy the frozen splinters.
These days, Save Rite has been out of business for years but Charleston Chews are readily available at many stores, though never for 50 cents anymore, they taste just as good as they did when I was a kid.

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