Molasses: The Ultimate Treat

Halloween, 2008 / No. 21

Taddle Creek usually reserves this space to encourage the proper usage of a given piece of punctuation or to clarify a rule of grammar that the general public seems to have long forgotten. Given the Halloween theme of this issue, the magazine had considered lecturing on the slash, or discussing the séance it is planning to attempt contact with the ghost of Bo Diddley and convince him to change the title of his scariest song to “Whom Do You Love?” But this time around, Taddle Creek would like to plead the case of its most favourite of Halloween treats—the Halloween kiss.

Taddle Creek was dismayed to see that no fewer than two of the contributors to its Halloween issue had less than generous things to say about this taffy-like, molasses-based delight. Not that this is the first time Taddle Creek has heard disparaging remarks about the Halloween kiss. Even its Wikipedia entry states that “the majority of Canadian children dislike the strong taste.” (This should not be used as evidence that Wikipedia can be trusted. It can not.) But to see such talk appear in its own pages…well, it was more than Taddle Creek could bear.

The origins of the Halloween kiss are something of a mystery. Some suggest the treat was born as a replacement for taffy during the Depression, perhaps because molasses was more affordable than…whatever the various ingredients used to make taffy are. In any case, the Halloween kiss has been an All Hallows Eve staple in candy sacks and pillowcases for decades. Taddle Creek recalls a time when various companies produced versions of the Halloween kiss, most famously the Allan Candy Company. Allan abandoned the kiss a few years ago, and Original Foods (formerly Bonbons Associés), of Quebec City, is now one of the last providers of Halloween kisses in Canada.

Philippe Canac-Marquis, general manager of Original, which has been producing Halloween kisses almost since its founding, in 1947, admits there has been a decline in the candy’s popularity over the years. However, he says Original is dedicated to reversing this trend by using high quality ingredients and a high molasses content, which results in a kiss somewhat softer than many readers may remember. Taddle Creek, known for its strict fact-checking, has sampled several bags of Original kisses and can report that they indeed are the freshest Halloween kisses the magazine has ever eaten, and the magazine has eaten a lot. The wrapper isn’t as nice as Allan’s, but one thing at a time.

So this Halloween, Taddle Creek asks its candy-loving readers who have long turned their backs on the Halloween kiss to try one again for the first time (they’ll be available at this issue’s launch). To dismiss the Halloween kiss is to dismiss molasses in general and Taddle Creek will be damned if it’s going to let that happen. The Boston Molasses Disaster was an accident. It’s time to forgive. Taddle Creek doesn’t think you’ll regret it.

[Correction: Originally, this story stated that Original Foods was the only company in Canada still manufacturing molasses kisses. A loyal reader presented Taddle Creek with a bag of Kerr’s kisses shortly thereafter, proving otherwise. Taddle Creek took the word of an Original representative while fact-checking and obviously should have dug further. Taddle Creek regrets the error.]