We have a silly tradition in my household. As a family, we love watching the TV show Survivor together. The four of us usually cuddle up on the couch beneath a blanket after dinner, turn on the show, and then immediately talk over it. It is a night of family bonding, and my favorite night of the week.
I don’t know when or how it started, but my wife started bringing home candy for the kids on Survivor night. Usually she purchases $1 boxes of movie candy (my son’s favorite is Mike & Ikes, my daughter’s anything but Mike & Ikes). Sometimes however, she treats the family to more expensive brands (Jelly Bellys being a huge hit).
Our life has been hectic of late. We are down to one car. My son has basketball games three times a week. My daughter has play rehearsals. I’m always trying to find time to write, photograph and research stories. With this Wednesday being particularly busy, I decided to provide the Wednesday treat.
I have always loved salt water taffy. I first discovered it as a child, when my grandmother purchased a large bag full at Cedar Point. Chewy, sweet, full of flavor. To me it is the perfect candy.
It was my wife that discovered the Taffy Barrel in Charlevoix when they first opened. We were in Charlevoix for a festival and she showed us inside before handing each kid a basket and giving them their limit. The kids rushed from barrel to barrel, selecting their favorite flavors.
And what flavors are to be found!
Over 70 flavors of taffy are sold at the Taffy Barrel. 70! Buttered Rum, Pomegranate, Maple Bacon, Red Velvet Cake, Neapolitan, Chocolate Malt, Buttered Popcorn, Apple Pie, Cherry Cola, Egg, Nog, Cinnamon Roll, Frosted Cupcake, Candy Corn, seemingly every flavor of fruit you can imagine. Huckleberry! They have huckleberry flavored taffy! My current favorite is Chili Mango, a sweet bite with some surprising heat.
At about $9 a pound, the Taffy Barrel is not inexpensive. But this is gourmet salt water taffy, not the cheap knockoff that you find at the local grocer. For a ‘once-in-awhile’ treat, it is well worth the money spent. Your children, and you, will love exploring the flavors and the nostalgia of the whimsically decorated shop.
The Taffy Barrel is located on Bridge Street in downtown Charlevoix. They are open Wed. – Sun. (typically 11-4 or 5 depending on the day). You can also order their product on the web at thetaffybarrel.com.