Premiering on the boardwalk of Atlantic City in the 1880’s, the sweet treat known as Salt Water Taffy has done more to brand Atlantic City as a fun, family destination than all the marketing in the world. Who do we have to thank for all the great attention? Good question.
The Origins of Salt Water Taffy
The origin of “salt water taffy” varies depending on who is telling the tale. The most fun story – and the one we’re going with – is that 1800’s candy-seller, David Bradley, had built his candy stand too close to the edge of boardwalk. One day a storm surge soaks his stand and all his taffy in salty seawater.
Later that day, a little girl walks up to his stand and asks to buy some taffy. Frustrated by the mess the sea made of his fares, Bradley sarcastically calls his candy, “saltwater” taffy. Overhearing the exchange, Bradley’s mother (or maybe his sister) enthusiastically urges him to continue calling his candy just like that.
What is a well-documented historical fact is that - at about the same time - savvy confectioner, Joseph Fralinger perfected the salt water taffy formula and opened a retail store on the Boardwalk. Visitors began purchasing boxes of Fralinger’s taffy as Atlantic City souvenirs.
And… that’s how the made-in-AC and stretched-to-perfection sweet stuff found its way around the world.
James’ Candy & Fralinger’s Salt Water Taffy
Flash back to the 1800s again: Enoch James and his sons arrive in AC from the Midwest, create the new “cut-to-fit-the-mouth” shape and package their salt water taffy in seashore novelties…and yet more ways for visitors to take home a taste of AC history.
Today Fralinger’s taffy in a 1-lb box is still the most popular AC souvenir, and you can find it in many delicious flavors at both James’s Candy and Fralinger’s.
The talented confectioners at James’ still “make all candy the old-fashioned way using the original recipes,” and if you visit in the summer, you can take a tour of the James’ taffy and candy factory Mon-Friday 10am-3pm.
Take home a box - or a shell - filled with delicious Fralinger’s or James’ taffy and enjoy the home-made taste of fudge, macaroons and other delicious confections at one of these AC sweet treat locations.
James: 1519 Boardwalk @New York Ave | Tropicana Casino | The Pier at Caesars
Fralinger's: 1325 Boardwalk @Tennessee Ave | Bally's