Here’s a sweet Secret in Denver, Colorado…Located in an industrial part of town, Hammond’s Candies has been making candy that’s handmade, hand-wrapped, and hand labeled since 1920. That makes them the oldest handmade confectioner in the country.
Never heard of Hammond’s Candies? Neither had we. However, on a recent Colorado trip, RFT Editor Anne Weaver did a little research and found this one-of-a kind company that’s been making sweet treats the old fashioned way and they have no intention of changing any time soon.
When we pulled up to the Hammond’s Candies factory and retail store, we were amazed to find the parking lot full. We later found out that this was one of their rare “garage sales” where they sell overstocks of candy by the case. And deals are to be found at this event. A case of their handmade candy canes that retails for $120 sells for $15. This is the event where you can stock up on Christmas candy without breaking the bank. They also always have an “Oops Room” where they sell candy that’s broken or not quite perfect – all at deep discounts.
Plenty to Choose From
Hammond’s Candies makes a wide range of products – more than 400 in all — and many of them are hard candy. They specialize in candies like candy canes, ribbon candy, meltaways, and more. In the hard candy line, in addition to the standard candies, they sell an all-natural line that contain no artificial colors or flavorings. In these candies, instead of corn syrup, they use cane sugar.
They’re also famous for Mitchell’s Sweets, handmade marshmallows enrobed in buttery caramel. This sweet is so popular, it’s their number one seller and they often run out of it.
They’ve recently introduced a line of chocolates that include bars like milk and dark chocolate caramel with sea salt and the S’Mores bar. They carry 9- and 16-piece chocolate assortments. They also dip plenty of things in chocolate, including pretzels and, my favorite, minty hard candies.
Another recent addition is their line of dips such as sweet apple pie, blueberry cheesecake, and ginger honey mustard. They also sell flavored popcorns such as caramel, Chicago style (cheese and caramel), and sweet and spicy habanero.
The company offers free public tours of the factory. It’s here that you begin to appreciate the old fashioned, handmade candy making process. Most of the equipment is ancient – big copper pots, iron cooling tables, and old extruder machines for making candy canes.
Watching Santiago at the candy cane making machine is impressive. A tube-like machine with burners to keep the candy pliable pushes out fat ribbons of striped hard candy. Lightening fast, Santiago pulls the ribbon into the proper length and diameter and snips it with big scissors. A young woman just down the line expertly bends the top of the candy into the iconic candy cane “crook.” Despite the fact that the candy is hand pulled, hand cut, and hand shaped, each candy cane is amazingly uniform.
Hammond’s candy can be found in a wide range of locations from Nordstrom’s to Shopko. You can also buy them online. But, some of their candies are only sold at their own retail store. So, if you’re in the Denver area, a stop at their candy facility for some sweet fun. — by Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor, Photos by Anne Weaver, RFT Editor
View more of Bobbie and Anne’s travels at http://www.realfoodtraveler.com/2012/08/hammonds-candies-colorados-sweetest-secret/