Halloween Candy Made Here: Pop Rocks

Grape "Crackling Candy" Pop Rocks wrapper, c. 1970. Photo by JasonLiebig; courtesy flickr.com

“Taste the Explosion,” the ads for this fizzing candy told us… But just don’t mix it with Coke or your tummy will explode (urban legend, we hope). In 1956, General Foods chemist William A. Mitchell first patented the melted-pressurized-then-cooled sugar-lactose-corn syrup mixture to much humor of little boys. Blame the trademark sensation on 600 pounds of pressurized CO2 cooled into each square inch, which, when combined with saliva, breaks into pops and sizzles.

Apparently they weren’t enough of a hoot (or lacked adequate shelf-life), because in the ’80s, General Foods turned the product rights over to Kraft, which redistributed it as “Action Candy,” then “Fizz Wiz,” while General Foods produced the similar (powdered) products “Cosmic Candy” and “Space Dust.” But the original Pop Rocks operation was manned at the General Foods headquarters at 250 Park Avenue in Manhattan (later moved to White Plains, N.Y. in Westchester County). Bonus for you food nerds: There’s even a book out (c. 2006) on the famous fizzers, titled: Pop Rocks: The Inside Story of America’s Revolutionary Candy. Legal fireworks in your mouth? Yeah, we’d call that revolutionary.

This week, we looked at some classic Halloween candies with a New York past. After researching 40+ candies — alive and dead — we were saddened to learn we have no stake on Baby Ruth or the 5th Avenue bar, but think we found some goodies that’ll keep you in local spirits this season. Check here if you’ve missed any!

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