Penny candy. Mention that to kids today and they’ll end up looking at you like you have three heads… afterall, nothing costs a penny these days. But when I was growing up, penny candy was a thing.
I would raid my mother’s coin jar, or save up some pennies on my own, for a trip down to the corner store (yeah, we had those too) where on the counter were glass jars full of pieces of bubble gum and my favorite… Swedish Fish.
One, two, three, four… piece by piece I would count out a mix of red and purple fish waiting for the lady behind the register to turn her head for a brief moment so I could sneak a few extra in the little brown paper bag.
Since my childhood, the red fish have always been a favorite and I’m still known to pick up a bag or two to snack on. The purple, grape Swedish fish, disappeared back in 2006 when the company known for creating these tasty treats, Malaco, decided to discontinue them.
Over the past decade, companies have tried to replicate the grape flavor of the discontinued fish, but none have really come close to the flavor I remember as a kid.
My friend Pam, who is one of the owners of BlairCandy.com, a family-owned company who’s been in business for over 75 years, recently reintroduced these candies to those longing for their grape goodness.
When she told me she was getting them in, I told her to stock up “big time” as I said she is going to have a huge candy hit on her hands! She sent out an email blast to her customers ahead of the fish arriving in stock, giving them the opportunity to pre-order. The initial order sold out before it even arrived and since then, they are swimming in orders for people wanting to try the new grape fish.
Friday a box from Blair Candy in Altoona, PA arrived on my doorstep and inside was a bag of the grape fish. Now, since they’re not manufactured by the original maker of the Swedish fish, these “Nordic Grape Fish,” as they are now called, have a slightly different texture and a strong grape flavor.
These Nordic Grape Fish are not as hard as the original and have a gummier texture, but not anything like a traditional gummy candy like a gummy bear.
At the end of the day, the original grape Swedish fish aren’t going to be coming back, but these Nordic Grape Fish are about the closest as you’re going to get if you want to satisfy a craving for this classic candy.