Sunday, July 26, 2015

Mint condition.

Here's a candy you do not see every day, unless I guess you sell them or work for the company:

Choward's Peppermints.

Choward's is an interesting brand. The C. Howard Company has been making Choward's candies since 1934, according to the company Web site. They make candies in flavors like lemon, guava, and spearmint, but they're probably best known, when they are known, for these:

Scented Gum and Violet candy.

"Mr. Howard, in search for a 'unique and different flavored candy', concocted a delightful confectionary mint called, 'Choward's Violet', in a small industrial loft on Broadway" in New York, says the company, whereafter he sold it on street corners. The Scented Gum is also violet flavored, says Amazon. If you've never tried them, or eaten an actual violet, you probably have never had anything that tastes quite like these.

Personally, I never cared for them. The violet flavor is very strong (the company uses natural oils where possible, it seems), and if someone in indulging in the gum or candy you can smell him coming. I have no evidence to prove this, but my anecdotal experience says that in the greater New York area in the 1970s, sales of Howard's violet candies shot up as marijuana use became more common.

The peppermint is not nearly that strong, but it sure is nice. Made with genuine sugar, these classy little mints are delightful. They don't try to blow you away with mint like Altoids, but they give you tons of flavor.

Think of the best mint you ever got at a diner's cash register --- granted, a low bar --- and trust me when I say this is much better. Just too easy to eat. That square roll may not last very long. And I adore the package design, which looks unchanged since the 1930s.

I salute you, C. Howard! I love small candy companies, particularly guys who go back to the pre-WWII days of the American candy industry. But I'll probably still always give the suspicious eye to any guy who comes up smelling like violets. Just let me check those pupils, son...

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