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Jelly Belly – Unique Candy With A Flavorful History

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jelly belly candy

Who can resist Jelly Belly? These colorful gourmet jelly beans with their wide varieties of flavors are chewy on the outside and filled with intense liquid flavor on the inside. They attract you with their bright irresistible colors and keep you with their tempting flavors. Once you start eating them and savoring all the interesting tongue-tingling tastes it’s difficult to stop.

Jelly beans have been around for quite some time. The ancestor to the jelly bean is a candy that was called “Turkish delight.” Covered in confectioner’s sugar, it was made of honey, citrus, and rose-water jell and different versions of it have been in existence since biblical times. The jelly bean as we know it today emerged around 1861 when Boston candy-maker William Schrafft campaigned for the civilians of Boston to send jelly beans to soldiers who were fighting during the American Civil War. Jelly beans continued to grow in popularity. The Chicago Daily News in July of 1905 displayed an ad for bulk jelly beans sold by the pound.

In the Roaring Twenties, “Jellybean” was a slang term used to describe a young man who was attractive to women due to his stylish dress. The hidden meaning was that he had no other good qualities. Perhaps that came from the fact that you could grab jelly beans from a jar. They were great eye candy, but nothing to distinguish them from each other. But that was well before the gourmet Jelly Belly with the wide variety of colors and flavors available today. By the 1930s jelly beans were associated with the Easter holiday and ended up in Easter baskets and desserts.

Who Invented the Jelly Belly?

In 1869, Albert and Gustav Goelitz from Germany came to America and bought a candy store. Driving a horse-drawn carriage, they took their sweets around to communities in Illinois. The next generation of the Goelitz family created buttercream candies and candy corn, a popular Halloween candy. The success of these candies kept the Goelitz family going during the Depression and the World Wars.

But in 1960, the family business wasn’t doing too well. Upstart Herman Goelitz Rowland, Sr., who was a fourth generation member of the Goelitz family and only nineteen-years-old at the time, decided that instead of closing their failing business in California they should come up with new exciting products. The company got busy innovating. They produced gummy bears, chocolate dutch mints, and jelly beans in all different sizes: giant, regular, and miniature. They improved their manufacturing process and started making jelly beans using the very best ingredients. They cooked intense flavors into the center of each candy.

Then in 1967 something very exciting happened. The Governor of California, Ronald Reagan, wrote the company a letter telling them that he couldn’t make a policy decision without passing around the jar of Jelly Belly first. This was the start of an explosion in popularity for these delicious gourmet jelly beans.

Another great break for the company came in 1976 when a Los Angeles candy distributor and marketing guru by the name of David Klein called Herman and proposed some familiar distinct flavors. Their collaboration started with fruit flavors like Very Cherry, Lemon, Green Apple, and Tangerine, and soda flavors like Grape, Cream Soda, and Root Beer. The initial launch included Licorice as the eighth flavor. All these flavors have remained in the list of the most popular flavors. Today, the Jelly Belly Candy Company manufactures over 50 regular flavors of Jelly Belly.

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Sara Bella enjoys buying lollies online at for her candy buffet parties and writing about all sorts of confectionery.



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