Have you ever wondered how peppermint candy became “a thing” at Christmastime? Read on for the candy cane history that has launched 1000 yummy gift ideas – and maybe even a parenting idea or two!
Many Christmas traditions can be traced back to Germany and the candy cane is no exception. According to folklore, in 1670, the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Cologne, Germany, was searching for a way in which to quiet restless children during his Christmas Eve mass. He asked a local candy maker to create what were then referred to as “sugar sticks” to eat during the service to keep them occupied. To justify this idea, he asked that the sticks have a “crook” at the top to signify the shepherds who visited the baby Jesus, and to make them white in color to signify the sinless life of Jesus, as well. After this successful endeavor, the sticks began to spread across Europe and began to be handed out during nativity reenactments.
It wasn’t until the 1800s that any official records show the candy cane, when a striped peppermint hooked candy was entered into a confectionery contest in Massachusetts. As with other forms of stick candy, the earliest canes were manufactured by hand and required a fair bit of labor that limited production quantities. The canes had to be bent manually as they came off the assembly line to create their curved shape and breakage often ran over 20 percent. Chicago confectioners the Bunte Brothers filed one of the earliest patents for candy cane making machines in the early 1920s. The process was further modernized when, in 1957, an ordained Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Little Rock, patented his invention, the Keller Machine,which automated the process of twisting soft candy into spiral striping and cutting it into precise lengths as candy canes.
Since then, candy canes have evolved and been updated in many ways. Additional colors have become common and unusual flavors more prevalent, but the exhilaration and minty chill of peppermint has kept its place at the top, only seeming to become more popular. Crushed up candy canes in everything from cookies to ice cream to chocolate have become top selling items during the holidays, their delicious bite mixing perfectly with the creaminess of chocolate and the salty flavor of popcorn. Take a look at some of our best sellers that will not only delight your clients, but may also keep their kids quiet for a few extra minutes during long holiday events!