Shriver's in Ocean City, New Jersey, is the oldest business on the town's boardwalk. Since William Shriver founded the candy store, restaurant, and ice cream parlor in 1898, they've been wowing beachgoers with their sweet treats.
Their most popular item is Salt Water Taffy. With more than 65 exciting flavors, each with its own signature color, their taffy is the star of the Ocean City boardwalk. We spent some time with them to learn their taffy-making secrets.
First, they add the base ingredients to a copper kettle and cook them down to remove the water, leaving behind an ultra-sticky sugary mixture. Then the mixture is moved to a cooling table, where the Shriver's team adds food coloring and cools the candy.
Next, the taffy goes to the pulling machine. Back before they had machines on-site, a Shriver's employee would place the candy on a large hook and manually stretch and twist it. Now, the pulling machine does all the work for them, aerating the taffy so it gets its signature chewy texture. At this point, they mix in the desired flavoring.
Finally, the taffy makes it way to the wrapping machine, where the candy is portioned and individually wrapped in wax paper. This process was also traditionally done by hand. These days, the machine makes quick work of wrapping 4,200 pieces of taffy per batch.
You might be reading this and wondering, "Where's the salt water?" The name doesn't refer to the actual ingredients. Rather, it's called salt water taffy because of an incident that happened a long time ago, down the road in Atlantic City in 1883. A different taffy maker's candy was accidentally washed over by the rising tide, and the name Salt Water Taffy was born.
Next time you find yourself on the Jersey Shore, stop by Shriver's in Ocean City to take a bite of boardwalk history.
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