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True Treats Candy Hosts Free Historic Water Tasting

From Sparkling to Spring the Waters are Unique
Includes Candy and Soda Samples – Event Followed by an Old Time Movie

Contact Person: Lucile Allen


Harpers Ferry, WV (April 12, 2018): On April 21st a surprising culinary treat will be available to all at True Treats Historic Candy’s theater: an historic water tasting. Yes – water. In this free taste-bud opening experience, the public will sample over 20 kinds of water from numerous time periods and categories from the first in the nation through today’s municipal, spring-fed, and sparkling water, with descriptions of them all.

According to True Treats Candy founder, Susan Benjamin, the event is part of Harpers Ferry’s Earth Day WaterFaire which celebrates the area’s river heritage. True Treats decided to join in from a culinary perspective, inspired by Berkeley Springs West Virginia’s international water competition, where Ms. Benjamin was a judge. She said: “Each water sample has its own distinct characteristics that reveal so much about our history and what drinking water has become today.”

The water tasting will give visitors the opportunity to vote on each selection – the winner will be announced through the media, on the True Treats Web site, and through e-mails to interested participants. In addition, the event will include:

Samples of hard candies, formally known as “boiled sugars,” made with a water base, and related treats;

Samples of ginger beer, sarsaparilla and other old time favorites;

  • A lottery with an historic prize for the winner;
  • Displays of historic water jugs and glasses from the 1700s-mid-1900s; and
  • Post-tasting old-time movies

Tickets, Times, and Parking

The tasting is from 2:00-5:00 and the movie runs from 5:30-7:00. True Treats will provide visitors with a list of local restaurants who will be open for dinner at that time. Tickets for the movie are free but advance tickets to guarantee a seat should be secured at True Treats Historic Candy at 144 High Street, Harpers Ferry lower level. More information will be posted on the True Treats Web site – and Facebook page or by calling (304) 461-4714. The theater is located in the rear of True Treats Candy store. Visitors concerned about parking can call and we’ll tell them where to go.

About True Treats Historic Candy

True Treats Historic Candy, the nation’s only research-based candy company, was listed by Food Network Magazine, and Holiday Lettings, Trip Advisor’s international arm, as one of the nation’s top 50 “Sweet Spots.” The company and founder Susan Benjamin have been featured on NPR, Fox News, NBC News, Voice of America, ABC News Hour Radio,, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Vice/, the Arizona Republic, the Sacramento Bee, Woman’s Day, Bon Appetit, and others. Ms. Benjamin also takes the company on the road, giving talks and tastings at museums, historical societies and other venues such as New York’s Mount Vernon Gardens and Hotel, which the New York Times cited as one of the top five events of the weekend. Ms. Benjamin’s tenth book, “Sweet as Sin: The Unwrapped Story of How Candy Became America’s Favorite Pleasure” (Prometheus, 2016) made the Smithsonian’s “Best of Books about Food for 2016.”

“Valentine’s Day as we know it today is about industrialization and the role of machinery.”

A Valentine’s Day interview with Candy Historian Susan Benjamin!

Read More!

True Treats Candy Announces Grandmother’s Purse Donation

True Treats Historic Candy® Announces
Donations from Grandmother’s Purse Project
Welcomes Requests for Contributions
Preference Given to West Virginia Organizations

Contact Person: Tammy McDonald

Harpers Ferry, WV (August 1, 2017): True Treats Historic Candy announced today the recipient of their twice-yearly “Grandmother’s Purse” donations, part of their commitment to donate 10% of their profits to not-for-profit organizations plus candy baskets and other contributions that assist auctions and other fund-raising efforts.

Says True Treats Candy founder Susan Benjamin, “We call this initiative ‘Grandmother’s Purse’ for the sour balls, Lifesavers and other sweets grandmothers carried in their purses to give as treats to their grandchildren. These women had experienced sugar shortages in economic downturns and wars – the sugar-based candy became a symbol of well-being and a gift of love which has carried on for generations. The spirit of this gesture is exactly what we have in mind.”

The recipient of the twice-yearly financial donation is Blue Ridge Community College in West Virginia to be used for scholarships to their culinary program. Says Ms. Benjamin, “We believe the college offers students opportunities to find careers in food that will last a lifetime. Blue Ridge is especially noteworthy because of their focus on unique aspects of food such as sugar and chocolate sculptures as well as traditional culinary disciplines.”

Other recipients of donations and/or gift baskets slated for fund-raisers include the Charlestown Old Opera House; Shepherdstown Daycare Center; Odd Fellows Society; and various animal shelters, all in West Virginia, as well as other organizations throughout the nation.

Call to Not-for-Profits

Organizations who are holding silent auctions or other fundraiser or believe True Treats can help fulfill their service-related mission should contact Susan Benjamin with their requests. These organizations must not be religious or political in nature and should focus on creating positive and productive change in the community. In addition, they must have tax exempt status. Preference is given to West Virginia-based organizations. Advance notice is always a plus.

True Treats Historic Candy® is the nation’s only historic candy company. Based in Harpers Ferry, WV, it was founded by Susan Benjamin, a professional researcher, author, and expert on historic sweets. The company has been cited by the Food Network,, and Holliday Letting as one of the best candy stores in West Virginia and/or the nation, received Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence, and has been featured everywhere from NPR and Fox News to the Sacramento Bee. Founder Susan Benjamin also gives talks on historic candy at museums, historic societies, libraries, businesses and other places throughout the nation. Her tenth book “Sweet as Sin” (Prometheus, 2016) was on the Smithsonian’s “Best Books about Food.”


The History of Some Classic Easter Treats

WVTF Public Radio recently featured True Treats Historic Candy’s owner, Susan Benjamin, in their “All Things Considered” blog. Easter is, of course, a major religious holiday for Christians, but for the secular world it’s all about candy. As it turns out, this country played a key role in the evolution of what fills today’s Easter baskets as Sandy Hausman reports.

Read More

Talk and tasting: History of candy in America is subject at Landis Valley Museum March 18

Author and historic candy store owner Susan Benjamin will talk about the American sweet tooth in three centuries

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Chocolate Hearts and History - Talk & Tasting

About our Talks & Tastings

From Rising Sun Tavern, Fredericksburg, VA:
Valentine’s Day Tasting Sunday at Rising Sun Tavern in Fredericksburg. Besides candy, folks be given a history lesson about how the treats evolved over the years and what made some more special than others.

From Paula Tarnapol Whitacre, Sorghum: The Abolitionists’ Sweet
Following my recent visit to the Alexandria Black History Museum, we were flattered to be featured in Paula’s blog. Many are unaware of the relationship between African American history and the evolution of sugar.

From the Hungry Bee, Food Blogger, New York City:
Today I braved the first extremely cold Sunday of the season to check out Susan Benjamin’s talk on Candies Through the 19th Century at the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden on the Upper East Side. And I’m so glad that I did.

The New York Times, New York, NY:
Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden: Candy Talk
This talk about the history of candy making in the United States will include some tasty extras: samplings of old-fashioned sweets like licorice root, sugar plums (that are not really plums at all) and jelly beans. (Listed as one of the city’s top events that weekend.

About Our Sweets

The Sacramento Bee, Sacramento, CA:
‘Cool’ candy assortment is centuries old Cool Confectionaries of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, does some very cool things with candies. It specializes in replicated historic candies made from recipes popular in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. The confections are sourced from small candymaking companies (including the tiny Historic Division of giant Mars), and from artisanal candymakers using authentic, original recipes

The Arizona Republic, Phoenix, AZ:
“Food of love: Aphrodisiacs for Valentine’s day”

…According to Susan Benjamin, West Virginia-based author of “Flash” and expert on aphrodisiac foods, their powers are a combination of looks, chemistry and psychology. If you believe something to be an aphrodisiac, it might just turn out to be true.

About The Shop

Wonderful piece by Michael Kane, of the “Ministry of Happiness”:
So I’m back in Harpers Ferry as I get ready to walk back to New York on the Appalachian Trail. My absolute favorite thing in this town is the True Treats candy shop created and run by Susan Benjamin…

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, PA:
True Treats sells old types of candy. There’s a lot to take in outdoors, but when it’s a sweltering 97 degrees, a cool refuge is True Treats, a shop that promises authentic candies dating back to the 1600s and air-conditioning. The company attached to the rear of the shop is called Cool Confectionaries. Sweet!

The State Journal, WV:
“HARPERS FERRY — Visitors to Cool Confectionaries clearly enjoy sampling horehound drops, Turkish Delight and other treats rarely tested by modern mouths, but there’s an added bonus, too. Susan Benjamin not only sells authentic sweets from the 1700s through the 1950s at her new shop at 144 High St. in Harpers Ferry, but also gives customers the chance to learn fascinating tidbits about the goodies.

Herald Mail, Hagerstown, MD:
Candy researcher tracks down original recipes for old-fashioned candies.

Blogger Beth Meyers, Visit Harpers Ferry and True Treats:
To maximize our time, we had a quick lunch at Scoops Ice Cream. The peach ice cream got good reviews. For another break, you can check out Cool Confectionaries, the only historic candy store in the nation. Almost every kind of candy sold here comes with an extensive label recounting the story. You can learn about the history of chocolate, chewing gum, and lollipops. The enthusiastic owner gives you information with every purchase. Cold vintage sodas are also available. Cool Confectionaries was the highlight of our day.

‘Sweet as sin’ offers history of sweet treats

The Greenfield Recorder reviews Sweet As Sin:


Woman’s Day

Susan discusses the history of fudge with the editor of Woman’s Day in their September issue. Be sure to pick up your copy to learn all about it!

Secrets of the penny candy jar: From Tootsie Rolls to Necco wafers, the real story behind every nostalgic treat

Secrets of the penny candy jar: From Tootsie Rolls to Necco wafers, the real story behind every nostalgic treat.


The sweet lowdown – our enduring obsession with candy

In Sweet as Sin, author and candy shop owner Susan Benjamin traces the evolution of North America’s sweet tooth.


As Seen On!

The New York Times
The Sacramento Bee
ABC News Radio
Deadwood South Dakota
History Channel
The Huffington Post
Vice Munchies