Friday, December 4, 2009

World's best candy canes at Zoë's

How cool is this?

The candy canes from our local Zoë's Chocolate Co. (across from my office) were designated as the "World's Best Candy Canes" by Saveur Magazine in their December 2009 issue.

"On the way home, I opened up a peppermint one and popped it into my mouth. The flavor was bright and refreshing, cool on the tongue, and more refined than the cloyingly sweet taste of the canes I'd grown up eating. The real stars, though, were the anise and cinnamon versions. The latter had all the gentle warmth of the spice but none of the aggressive heat you get in most cinnamon hard candies, and the anise cane, which had a gorgeous sheen, tasted of real licorice. I finished the whole thing."
The candy canes come in all natural cinnamon, peppermint, or anise. The canes are all made by hand.

"As its name suggests, Zoë's Chocolate Company makes primarily chocolates, and very good ones. But every year in the weeks leading up to Christmas, the owner, Zoë Tsoukatos, gets together with her parents and two brothers to make candy canes, observing a tradition begun two generations ago by Tsoukatos's great-aunt and great-uncle, immigrants from Greece. "When I was a little girl," she recalls, "I would wait all year for candy cane–making time. I loved it then, and I love it now.

Tsoukatos says that the method hasn't changed a bit. "We still use natural oils for the flavoring and knead the candy by hand." Each batch of the taffy-like candy base is pulled and stretched on a wall-mounted hook before the flavoring is added; then the colored pieces are twisted onto the white base. Zoë's mother, Elaini, oversees the job of bending each cane into the crook shape. "She has the magic touch," says Tsoukatos. "

Also, note this upcoming event: see their 7'5" Handmade Candy Cane in front of 30 N. Market Street in Frederick on First Saturday. New Mayor-Elect, Randy McClement, and new aldermen will make the first candy cane break at 6pm. Stop by and get your piece to enjoy!
Photo Michael Krauss, Saveur Magazine.

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