Biting into a Charleston Chew

While visiting historic Charleston, South Carolina, I picked up a Charleston Chew, a candy bar I assumed had a connection to the city.

Wrong. The treat was launched by the Fox-Cross Candy Company in 1922, during the popular dance craze – the Charleston. I imagine the makers realized the bars force one’s jaw to do a little jig.

Nabisco purchased rights in 1980 and Tootsie added the Chew to their line in 1993. Five years later, they created Charleston Mini Chews, bite-size servings resembling Milk Duds.

So what is a Charleston Chew? According to the confectioner : “A chewy, nougat wrapped in a rich, chocolatety coating.” The bars come in three flavors: chocolate, strawberry and vanilla., although banana was once an option.

Many people like to freeze the candy and break it into small pieces prior to eating. This makes the nougat more like toffee, causing it to morph in your mouth. For me, this is the only method that makes the sweet worth eating.

Good news for anyone watching their calories. Charleston Chews are relatively low cal and low fat. And, they last a long time, especially if you eat them frozen.

Back in my trick-or-treating days, these little bars were popular with people handing out Halloween candy, but not with the kids. I admit, I usually tried to trade mine away. “Anyone want all my Charleston Chews for one Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup?”

Today, I’m still not a fan of the candy but crave the city of Charleston.