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West Virginia Candy Store Has Sweets from All Ages

2018-02-13

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  • For many people, there is nothing better than a piece of candy.
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  • Sweets date back thousands of years to the ancient Egyptians, who ate sesame seeds with honey.
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  • In the United States, a good place to learn about candy is the True Treats Historic Candy store in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.
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  • The store sells many kinds of treats that were popular during different periods in history.
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  • The unusual collection has everything from chocolate kisses to edible bugs.
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  • True Treats is said to be the only historic candy store in the United States.
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  • The business opened eight years ago.
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  • It has everything from ancient Greek chewing gum to favorite candies from the 1900s.
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  • Susan Benjamin is the store’s owner.
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  • She tells people interesting facts about the 400 products found in True Treats.
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  • Many visitors enjoy reading historical information written on product labels.
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  • Benjamin notes that sweets were first used to treat health problems.
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  • "Sugar was used as medicine, and the Turkish delight was made for sore throats somewhere around the year 900. And it became very popular worldwide."
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  • People also enjoyed some plants that were naturally sweet.
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  • They chewed on tree bark, branches and roots.
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  • "In the mid-1800s, kids would go and buy a root of licorice plant and they would chew it and get that delicious licorice flavor."
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  • One popular product at True Treats is a mix of roasted crickets and mealworms.
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  • Benjamin says these insects were once considered a sweet snack.
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  • "The crickets, to me, taste a little bit like sesame. I've had ants, and some of them are a little bit bitter, almost tart like lemon."
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  • Small round fruit and nut chocolate candies were popular from the 1920s to 1950s with people who played card games.
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  • "And they made little candies that people could pick up with their fingers in one hand and hold the cards in the other."
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  • Some visitors to True Treats find candy that brings back memories.
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  • Others are too young to have grown up with any of the candy in the store, like Bev Soriano.
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  • "I came here a lot as a kid, so it's kind of a lot of nostalgia, which is weird because it's in such an unfamiliar setting, yet I have so many fond memories."
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  • Benjamin has also written a book called Sweet as Sin about the history of sweet treats.
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  • I’m Jonathan Evans.
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