A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from April 17, 2005
Buffalo: Sponge Candy
Buffalo is also known for "sponge candy," but it probably didn't originate here.

The Coast-to-Coast Guide to 500 of the Best Barbecue Joints, Lobster Shacks, Ice Cream Parlors, Highway Diners, & Much More
by Jane and Michael Stern
New York: Broadway Books (Random House)
494 pages, paperback, $17.95
2002 new edition
1978 and 1980, Random House
1992, HarperCollins

Pg. 106 (Mike's Homemade Candies, Cheektowaga, NY): Of Buffalo's many claims to culinary fame (wings, beef on weck, char-cooked hot dogs), one of the lesser known stars is sponge candy. Made of molasses that is cooked and spun to a state of desiccated near-weightlessness, then broken into diaphanous,
double-bite-size hunks and sheathed in dark chocolate (or milk chocolate, if you prefer), it is known in some parts of the Midwest as seafoam candy or fairy food.

The story of Fowler's Chocolate Shoppe, Inc. began in 1901 with a young entrepreneur by the name of Joseph A. Fowler. After living in England and Canada, Joseph traveled to Buffalo, NY in order to attend the Pan American Exposition. At the exposition, he created and sold a small variety of chocolate confections and sweets. The instant acceptance of his products, along with great encouragement from his patrons, inspired Joseph to pursue candy making as a career. With his brother, Claude, Joseph opened a small candy store in Buffalo.

In 1910, Claude decided to start his own business, concentrating on the making of taffy and candied apples, and catered to carnivals, fairs and other public gatherings. Claude passed away in 1942, but three generations of his family have carried on his taffy business, now prominent in most carnivals and fairs in the western New York area.

Joseph A. Fowler passed away in 1944, yet succeeding generations have continued the chocolate business that he began nearly a century ago. Joseph's sons, Joseph C. Fowler and Ray Fowler, carried on the business and were responsible for the success and growth of the company throughout the '50s and early '60s. In 1961, Joseph C. Fowler's son, Roy, joined the corporation, and in 1968, Fowler's Chocolate moved its operations to a 10,000 square foot building. This new facility enabled the company to double its gross sales.

In 1993, the company was purchased by Buffalo residents Randy and Ted Marks. At that time, the business had greatly expanded and had outgrown its old location. The company was relocated to its current address at 100 River Rock Drive in Buffalo.

Sponge Candy 8 oz.
Our #1 best-seller, every year, every season! With a sweet, crispy center surrounded by rich premium chocolate, this mouth-watering treat is not only heavenly, it's absolutely irresistible! Available in Milk, Dark or Orange Chocolate. 8 oz.

Also, there's Romolo Chocolates of Erie, PA:

Romolo Chocolates' rich history began with Romolo, an Italian who immigrated to New York City in 1906. His grandson Tony, owner and master confectioner at Romolo Chocolates, continues to make cremes, caramels and other confections in the traditional methods his grandfather began after years working with candy
makers in New York City and Chicago. The family's confection making and chocolate mastery were learned under his tutelage.

The "famous in Romolo's Famous Sponge Candy came into play years after Romolo developed an impossibly delicate confection covered in rich milk chocolate that captured the taste buds and hearts of local Erieites and the attention of a national candy company. Needless to say, the national company never did get
an exclusive contract, and the family recipe for sponge candy continues to be made at Romolo Chocolates and devoured far and wide. A chunk of delicate crisp that melts in your mouth, has a hint of molasses flavor and is coated in creamy milk chocolate, Romolo's Famous Sponge Candy is our most popular piece of candy.

24 January 1895, Fort Wayne (Ind.) News, pg.1, col. 7:
Something new and delicious - Pepsin Sponge Candy, at Batchelder's, No. 29
West Main Street.

23 March 1907, Washington Post, pg. 3, col. 4:
Chocolate Sponge
Pound Packages... 29c
(This could be "sponge cake," but it's in a section of candy advertisements,
with no cake mentioned - ed.)

7 March 1909, Chicago Daily Tribune, pg. F3:
Sponge Candy.
One cup of table sirup. One cup of granulated sugar. Let boil until it cracks when dropped in cold water. Take two teaspoons of baking soda, rubbed smooth, stir soda quickly into candy. After removing candy from fire when thick turn out on buttered platter and let cool.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York State • Sunday, April 17, 2005 • Permalink

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