That's Nuts

A weekly dose of nutty history, pop culture, and recipes from Lee Zalben, aka The Peanut Butter Guy.

Have You Tried Walnettos, the Walnut Candy?

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Peanuts and almonds seem to dominate the world of nutty candies. But the Walnetto is a tasty little treat that showcases walnuts, which don't appear too often in the candy universe.

Walnettos were first sold in 1919 and were in fact one of American's top ten candies up until the 1940s. They were an especially popular movie theater treat.

The candy enjoyed a renaissance in the 1960s and '70s when it made its small-screen debut on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. In one recurring sketch, a seedy old man named Tyrone played by Arte Johnson would persistently try to pick up spinster Gladys Ormphby, played by the Ruth Buzzi, to no avail. After his reproaches, which would usually end with Gladys hitting him with her handbag, Tyrone would often ask, "How about a Walnetto?"

Walnettos were first made by the J. N. Collins Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota. They were later bought by Peter Paul, Inc. (the creators of Mounds and Almond Joy) and the company passed through many hands before being bought and resurrected by candy entrepreneur Sandy Licht in the 1980s. Walnettos are now made with Diamond California walnuts. They, and all their old-school cool can be found at Cracker Barrel locations throughout the United States, as well as at Vermont Country Store.

I love the contrast between the crunchy walnuts and the smooth creamy caramel. But the best part is how much the natural walnut flavor really shines through.

Have you ever had a Walnetto? Anyone thinking about giving them out to trick-or-treaters this Halloween?

About the author: Lee Zalben was a PB&J-loving kid that grew up to be the founder and president of Peanut Butter & Co., which began as a Greenwich Village sandwich shop serving nothing but peanut butter sandwiches and expanded to include the now-famous line of all natural flavored peanut butter. Lee is a graduate of Vassar College and enjoys traveling the world in search of interesting foods made with peanuts, tree nuts, and seeds. When he's not working, eating, flying or writing, he enjoys scuba diving and training elephants.

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