Charleston Chew

Charleston Chew

If they could name a candy bar after a baseball legend, why not a dance craze? That’s precisely what happened in the early 20s, when The Charleston began sweeping the country. Today, few still perform these historic dance moves, but many still delight in taking a bite out of a Charleston Chew.

The Charleston Chew was created by the Fox-Cross Company in 1922. It was renamed the Charleston Chew two years later to latch on to the enormous popularity of a new dance called the Charleston and sales rose considerably. Nearly a hundred years later, people are still biting into chewy confection.

Nearly a foot in length (and perhaps the biggest bang for your candy buck since the Marathon bar), the candy bar consists of a long rectangle of nougat taffy that is dipped in chocolate. At first, only the vanilla variety was available but the company added chocolate, strawberry and banana in the 1970s. The banana variety was discontinued shortly thereafter.

Every Charleston Chew wrapper offers some free advice – “Try Frozen!” For man a fan of the candy bar, this is the only way to enjoy these normally-chewy treats. Toss one in the freezer for about an hour then give it a good whack on the kitchen counter (The experienced among us understand that you keep the wrapper on to avoid a big mess).

In its frozen state, the bar is surprisingly brittle and will break into a handful of delightfully crunchy chunks. They only stay in that fragile state, of course, until the candy nears room temperature again, so its best to consume them right away (which has never posed much of a problem for fans of the Charleston Chew).

The Charleston Chew has changed hands many times since its introduction. Nabisco purchased the rights from Fox-Cross, then sold them to Warner-Lambert in the 80s, who then sold them to Tootsie Roll in 1993. Tootsie Roll, who still makes the Charleston Chew to this day, released the movie-friendly bite-sized Charleston Chews shortly after acquiring the brand.

The full-sized Charleston Chews aren’t always as easy to find as they once were, perhaps due to their respectable girth, but they are still out there. Pick one up sometime, throw it in the freezer for a bit, then give it a good whack and show the youngsters how its done. While new generations of kids may never dance the Charleston, at least they can still enjoy the ritual behind the candy that that bears its name.

Do you enjoy your Charleston Chews soft or frozen? We’d love to hear your memories of this iconic candy bar in our comments section below.

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