The nostalgic favorite with the biggest buzz had to be Bonomo's Turkish Taffy. This candy went out of production in the 1980's, and I actually wasn't familiar with it until this Expo, where it seemed everyone was talking about it. In fact Marc Summers, host of the Food Network's Unwrapped, professed himself to be a huge fan and is apparently hoping to tape an episode of Unwrapped at the Turkish Taffy factory. Turkish Taffy isn't actually a traditional taffy at all. The candy's texture in the package is quite hard, but if you hold it in your hand or otherwise warm it up, it becomes soft and pliant. The candy's tagline is "Smack it and Crack it!" and the packaging encourages eaters to hit the bar against a hard surface to break it into manageable shards. Once you put the taffy in your mouth and let your body heat warm it up, it becomes nicely soft and chewable. It has other interesting properties as well: if you smack it and then let the bar sit, the pieces will fuse back together over time. You can also fuse multiple flavors together when warm, and as they cool they harden back into a single bar, now customized with your favorite flavors. The taste itself is very mild and sweet, so I think the appeal is really in the nostalgia and the fun interactive aspect of the candy.
Two other nostalgic favorites are also back: Astro-Pops, a hard cone-shaped candy on a stick, looks to be back with its original shape. The pops were first introduced with the stick at the base of the cone, but the design was later changed to have the stick skewering the peak of the cone (allegedly to prevent kids from whittling the peak into dangerously sharp points that could cause injury and perhaps lawsuits.) I also saw Fizzies drink tablets, which are perhaps not quite a candy but do seem appropriate bedfellows in the nostalgic candy aisle. Fizzies are like a fun version of Alka-Seltzer: sweet, mostly fruit-flavored tablets that fizz when put into cold water and produce a sweet drink not unlike Kool-Aid. Much like the Turkish Taffy, the end result is not memorable so much for the flavor but for the hands-on process that is sure to appeal to kids.
Photo ©2010 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.