Origin of Red Hots
Anyone who remembers the early 1930s (raise of hands?) can tell you all about their introduction and first reaction to Red Hots. Told to begin by popping no more than one or two into their mouths at a time, they sometimes failed to heed the warning. Hoo!Ha! Did those little dynamite candy tablets tingle the tongue! Pretty soon, however, the owner of the candy bag had to fend off friend and foe alike in order to keep a few of the little red fire starters for personal enjoyment. In those days, if you had a bag of Red Hots, you had company.
As indicated, Red Hots came into being sometime in the early 1930s when the Ferrara Candy Company first began offering them to the general public. The company initiallly got its start when Salvatore Ferrara opened a pastry and confection shop in Chicago just after the turn of the last century, in 1908. By 1921 Ferrara and his brothers-in-law, Salvatore Buffardi and Anello Pagano had formed a partnership which developed into the Ferrara Candy Company.
The candy company relied on a process known as cold panning for many of its candies. In that procedure, the “panner” would drop a small nut, a piece of fruit or no more than a grain of sugar into a rotating pan. As the panner added other components (flavorings, colorings and various candy ingredients) the original piece would accumulate these materials like a snowball rolling downhill and gradually grow in size. The center and outer layer’s texture and flavoring depended on the order in which the panner added these substances.
In the early days of operation, the Ferrara Candy Company primarily offered its wares in bulk wholesale prices to retail outlets. The company produced and sold a diverse compendium of mouth-watering sweets, from their popular sugar-coated almonds, to wedding cakes and a wide assortment of panned candies.
Then, in 1932, they came out with the Ferrara brand of cinnamon imperials that they named Red Hots. Red Hots, with their spicy cinnamon flavor, became an instant and long-lasting success. Everyone had to have a bag of them. When a kid invited his pals to share his Red Hots, they knew exactly what he had to offer and quickly gathered around in anticipatory excitement.
Today, a quick way to locate a source requires no more than a quick online search of the candy to order a bag of Red Hots on the Internet or find a local retail outlet. The sooner you do so, the sooner your tongue will thank you.