Written by Debbie Ali
There’s nothing like the taste of warm peppermint fresh off an early twentieth century, one-ton steel cooling table.
Co-owners Debbie Bertrand and Nick Lucas have revived an old tradition in the Village of Haverstraw. Lucas Candies, the oldest chocolate shop in New York State, celebrated its 120th anniversary by handmaking traditional candy canes.
The shop produced about 600 candy canes before deciding to show their skills to the public, and let me tell you, it was well worth the wait.
Instead of simply painting on a red stripe like they do in factories, folks at Lucas Candies use real peppermint oil and create the two colors separately, and then twists them together. In order to get the candy to look white, you have to let air bubbles enter it, and pulling the candy on a greased hook 70 times does this. The whole process is extremely labor-intensive, but the results are phenomenal.
During the month of December, a popular thing to do in Rockland County was to watch the technique from start to finish at one of the free candy cane making demos open to the public.
Seeing children’s eyes light up when co-owners Debbie and Nick pour liquid sugar onto a table to cool, and then fold it into a more malleable form was beyond heartwarming.
The entire process is magical, but the best part is the last step, when the heated candy is curved into their iconic cane-like shape.
Approximately 2,000 candy canes later, the owners are now seasoned pros at making these delectable treats, and word about their candy cane making revival has rapidly spread.
Lucas Candies has been all over the news these past few month, appearing on CBS, News Channel 4 and Lohud. They were even featured in a live video by Zagat! The streets of Haverstraw are bustling with people carrying bags with the golden Lucas Candies Logo printed on the front.
Last year they were nearly sold out of everything! Debbie had worked over 80 hours in one week alone to meet the demand of customers. What an amazing year for Lucas Candies!
The store sells a number of tantalizing sweet snacks, such as the PMS Bar, the Honey Badger, and Dark Chocolate Jelly Beans, all great presents or stocking stuffers for the holidays.
Definitely a family tradition that Haverstraw residents and visitors are looking forward to seeing this coming year!
You can learn more about Lucas Candies here!