'Abba-Zaba, You My Only Friend'

That's Nuts

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


[Flickr: Nick Adair]

Taffy and peanut butter have got to be the two stickiest foods on the planet. You've surely enjoyed them individually, but have you ever tried sticking them together? If pairing peanut butter and taffy doesn't sound like a good idea, just ask anyone who's ever had an Abba-Zaba bar, a classic candy that's been around since 1922.

Abba-Zabas were first prepared by a candy company called Colby and McDermott, and then by another company called Cardinet. In 1978, Annabelle Candy acquired Cardinet, along with Abba-Zaba, and they're still manufacturing it today.

While you can easily find chocolate bars with peanut butter filling, Abba-Zaba's combination of chewy, sweet taffy and creamy peanut butter is unique. The vanilla taffy gives the candy a sticky and stringy texture, while the rich, savory peanut butter balances out the taffy's sweet taste.

Besides the original flavor, Abba-Zaba comes in two other varieties: sour apple (with peanut butter inside green apple taffy) and chocolate. Among Abba-Zaba addicts, some favorite ways to eat the candy are by freezing it overnight, cutting it into small bite-sized pieces, or squeezing the peanut butter to the top like toothpaste in a tube in order to get a maximum amount of peanut butter in every bite.

Despite the New York taxicab-like wrapper, Abba Zaba is easiest to find in candy stores in and around California, where Annabelle Candy Co. is based. On the East Coast, getting a hold of an Abba-Zaba is trickier, but not impossible. You can order them on the Annabelle Candy Co. website (along with some Abba-Zaba apparel), or find them tucked into the Nostalgia Toolbox and Best of the U.S. candy assortments at Dylan's Candy Bar.

Many people were probably introduced to the candy from one of its many cameos in movies and on TV, the most infamous of which is surely the stoner comedy Half Baked, where Thurgood Jenkins (played by Dave Chappelle) proclaims, "Abba-Zabba, you my only friend!" while enjoying a piece of the candy.

Are you an Abba-Zaba fan? Do you have a favorite nostalgic or hard-to-find candy?