Editor's Note: We're back with Vintage Candy Monday in celebration of Halloween. This week, the Necco Wafer!
As far as nostalgia candies go, Necco Wafers go way back. Since its launch in 1912, not much has changed about the chalky candies except the price. It was 5 cents in the '50s, and remains a low 90 cents per roll of 38 to 40 wafers today (making each wafer as close to penny candy as you’ll get in the twenty-first century).
The Necco Wafer has an illustrious history. In 1913, explorer Donald MacMillan took Necco Wafers on his Arctic expedition as nutrition for his men, and as rewards for Eskimo children. In 1930 Admiral Byrd took two and a half tons of the candy to the South Pole, nearly a pound a week for each man. And during World War II, the wafers were commissioned by the United States government as treats for American soldiers, because they are fortuitously resistant to destruction, making them something of a victory candy.
The fat-free wafers come in eight old-time flavors: chocolate (brown), lemon (yellow), lime (green), orange (orange), clove (purple), wintergreen (pink), cinnamon (white), and licorice (black). The chocolate wafers come packaged in individual rolls as well (they are the best flavor). Tart varieties are available, and also “Smoothies” flavors: Blueberry, Banana Caramel, Tropical, Peach, and Strawberry Crème—a little update for these old timers.
To me, they are the perfect after-dinner candy, and I keep the penny-wafers in a beautiful old-fashioned candy dish, for a bit of low-end, high-end old-fashioned charm. Do you have Necco Wafer memories?