The Turkish Taffy was a candy bar that was chewy and resembled taffy and which came in a number of different flavors. This candy was first made by a Sephardic Jew called Victor Bonomo. His father was Albert Bonomo, and he was the founder of the Bonomo Company, which was located in Coney Island, in New York. This company produced hard candy and saltwater taffy. The factory began operations in the year before Victor was born. The candy he made was sold in the amusement park located in Coney Island.
Victor’s son, Tico Bonomo, said that the Turkish Taffy was more of a short nougat and less of a type of taffy. The Turkish Taffy was basically a batter of egg whites and corn syrup, which was baked. This candy doesn’t originate from Turkey, despite the name. It was created in the factory which belonged to the Bonomo family, which was of Turkish origins. This candy was sold in strawberry, vanilla, banana and chocolate.
Victor joined the company after the 1st World War ended. The company was producing hard candies and salt water taffy at the time.
After World War 2, the rationing of sugar appeared, and everyone had a sweet tooth that they couldn’t satisfy. The Bonomo candies which were promoted back them were Call Again, Hats Off and Thanks.
The Turkish Taffy was distributed in the stores of Woolworth, in sheets that are large. Ball pen hammers were used to break off the large sheets, and the candy was sold based on its weight. At the end of the 40’s, Bonomo launched a version that was the size of a candy bar. The wrapper of this candy bar had on it a smiling man, which poured batter in a large vat.
The person that bought the candy then whacked it on a hard surface, so it broke in pieces that were bite sized. Frugal customers loved it because the resulting pieces were melting slowly and they were chewy. The fact that the Turkish Taffy didn’t melt quickly, meant that people got that nice taste for a longer period of time, while spending little money. In fact, the candy was chewy enough that it lasted through the large part of a movie double feature.
It was quite popular those days, and eventually it was distributed in other area from all over the country. It had problems gaining ground in Southern areas before the air conditioning became widespread, since it was too warm and it became gooey. A new wrapper was the solution to this problem.
The Turkish Taffy was marketed and advertised on TV in 1949. At that time, the Bonomo company sponsored the NBC show called The Magic Clown. Another show where they advertised was Wonderama. Later, Tico Bonomo said that the TV was the main reason why the taffys that were the size of candy bars were so successful.
From 1980 to 1989, the Turkish Taffy was one of the candies that were produced in Chicago, at Tootsie Roll Industries.
An attempt at getting the Turkish Taffy back in production was done in 2003, with a site that said that it will be returning. However, that site is now offline and the attempt seems to have failed.
The Turkish Taffy had many fans, thanks in part to its chewy characteristics and cheap price, important factors especially after World War 2.