My Peanut Chews addiction started when I was a kid in Philadelphia where every grocery store was my supplier. Confession: I can eat an entire package by myself in under two minutes. Okay, two packages.
The Midwest has been my home for eight years; there are no Peanut Chews here. Apparently, 60% of Peanut Chews sales come from Philadelphia and 30% from New York while the remainder comes from chains like Cracker Barrel and Rite Aid.
When our family is on a long car ride heading east, every time we pass a Cracker Barrel restaurant I think three things in this exact order: peanut chews, clean bathrooms, a nice lunch. Happily, Cracker Barrel carries a variety of hard-to-find candies especially for those of us who suffer from road trip induced nostalgia.
I’m not alone in my yearning for these rectangular confections. As of this writing, the Peanut Chews Facebook page has 4,743 likes and plenty of activity. Look at the page; most of the comments are like little love notes – love notes for candy. People are thrilled when they discover them.
It’s difficult to describe their taste because I’m certain that what I taste has nothing to do with the ingredients in the candy. Mostly, I taste childhood; the thrill of scoring several packs in my Halloween bag, a satisfying after-school snack with milk, a good reason to ride my bike to the store with friends.
Peanut Chews come with some history of their own. In 1917, David Goldenberg, a Romanian immigrant, began selling walnut and molasses chews out of his candy store in Philadelphia. Later, in an effort to contain costs, peanuts were substituted for the walnuts. During World War I, Peanut Chews were given to U.S. military troops as ration bars. Peanut Chews remained a family owned business until 2003 when Goldenberg’s great grandson sold the company to the Just Born Candy Company. (They make chick-shaped marshmallow Peeps.)
So, how do they really taste? A delectable combination of roasted peanuts and molasses covered in chocolate, Peanut Chews aren’t overly sweet like other candy bars. The bar is optimistically divided into 8 bite-sized pieces which suggests that it should be shared. Who are they kidding? Buy them in bulk and find a good hiding spot.
Do you have a favorite childhood candy you can’t live without?