Friday 6 November 2009

Gibralter Rock Candy

I'm really enjoying the Gibralter rock candy that was in Rue's giveaway parcel! I expected that it would come divided into small individual pieces but no, when you open the package you find a single, large, rectangular slab of rock hard candy. To break it, I tried hitting it with the handle of a knife. Nothing. Then a cleaver, which worked better. Finally a hammer, which worked best. Once in your mouth, the rock candy melts easily and deliciously. There are two flavours -- lemon and peppermint -- and they linger long after the candy itself is gone.

Gibralters have a very interesting history, too. Apparently they are the first candy made and sold commercially in the United States. In 1806, an English woman named Mrs. Spencer was shipwrecked on her way to America and ended up destitute with her young son in Salem, Massachusetts. When her neighbours learned that Mrs. Spencer knew how to make candy, they all chipped in and bought her a barrel of sugar so she could go into business. Her Gibralter rock candy was a huge success for this single working Mom who was ahead of her time!

According to Wikipedia, an 1893 book called Gibralters a "Salem institution" and described the candy as follows:

The Gibraltar . . . is a white and delicate candy, flavored with lemon or peppermint, soft as cream at one stage of its existence, but capable of hardening into a consistency so stony and so unutterably flinty-hearted that it is almost a libel upon the rock whose name it bears. The Gibraltar is the aristocrat of Salem confectionery. It gazes upon chocolate and sherbet and says: "Before you were, I was. After you are not, I shall be."

The book's author says the lemon flavor is preferred by youth, and the peppermint by the elderly, and quotes a "charming old Salem dame" as saying "I know I must be growing old, because a peppermint Gibraltar is so comforting to me."

Today, Gibralters are still made in Salem, using the original recipe, by Ye Olde Pepper Companie Ltd.


Sarah Sullivan said...

Oh I adore rock candy!! Wonderful post mouth is watering!! Hugs, Sarah

Renee said...

So I see my prference for peppermint is saying something about me.


mxtodis123 said...

Gosh, do I love rock candy, but can't remember the last time I had it. And thanks for the history of the Gibralters. I love stuff like that.

yellowdoggranny said...


the word verification is : urine

Debra She Who Seeks said...

LOL! I hope the word verification is no reflection on this blog! "She Who Pees" doesn't have the same ring!

Jaliya said...

Yum ... sounds delicious; I've never had these sweets. I'm heading for that old-biddy, peppermint-lovin' age ... so I'll rebel by saying I'm sticking with lemon! ;-D

I don't think I'd dare pop anything called "Rock Candy" into my mouth, though. Wouldn't want to break a tooth at *any* age!!

Debra, re the award you gave to my blog ... I'm moving slow as molasses these days (er, whoops -- for us ladies in the Great White North, I guess it'd be "slow as pine sap," eh?) ... so I've got a bloggy response to the gift in the works ...

I've also got the flu, dammit, so nothing's getting past my lips today but chicken noodle soup!

I like the new header on your blog!

P.S. Word verification = "hobtism" --> the state of having one's teeth hobbled after chomping down on a Gibraltar Rock Candy? ;-D

clairedulalune said...

Hahaha! "She who pees" You are making laugh right out loud these days!! I love rock candy, my favourite part is smashing it all up!

Stacey J. Warner said...

What a wonderful piece of history. Thanks for sharing. I love the quote by th older lady, cute.

much love

Rue said...

Jaz gave me so many candies, I had to share - but now I'm thinking I should have sent you the malted! No, seriously - I'm so glad you like these. I love this story too! Nothing like a woman who became successful with a little help from her friends!

Judith said...

Oh, I only wish - the big diet starts Monday!

Blue Moon said...

How absolutely charming the gift is with the story and background behind it ! Imagine a woman who was a business entrapanuer (sp?) in those days! What a great giveaway !!!