Turkey Joints Are The Candy You Probably Haven't Heard Of

Just about every holiday and time of year has a seasonal candy associated with it. Valentine's Day is all about chocolate: chocolate hearts, chocolate roses, and even chocolate broken hearts for the lovelorn among us. Easter has jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, peanut butter-filled eggs, and marshmallow bunnies, to name a few. Halloween has candy corn, candy pumpkins (a cousin of candy corn), and too much chocolate-focused candy to count. Christmas has candy canes, peppermint bark, and Lifesavers hard candy Storybooks — not to mention traditional homemade candies like peanut brittle.

Thanksgiving gets short shrift in the world of candy, maybe because a once-a-year, food coma-inducing feast doesn't really need candy to upstage the traditional desserts. But for those who insist, there are foil-wrapped turkeys and fall leaves, autumn-hued candy corn, white chocolate pumpkin pie bonbons, and the weird and wacky Brach's turkey dinner candy corn, which takes a cue from components of the Turkey Day spread: stuffing, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, etc.

If you're from Central New York, especially the area near Rome, a small city not far from the geographic center of the state, Thanksgiving and Christmas aren't complete without Turkey Joints candy. Yes, you read that right: We're talking candy that looks like turkey bones, has "marrow” like bones, and is brittle like bones (per NPR).

Turkey Joints aren't just for Thanksgiving

Turkey Joints definitely qualify as a quirky candy. Members of the Haritatos family have produced the long, bumpy, silvery-white "bones” with a nubby nut and chocolate "marrow” center at Nora's Candy Shop in Rome since 1919 (per the Rome Daily Sentinel). Two varieties of original Turkey Joints candy are offered: one with a center of chocolate and hazelnuts and another filled with chocolate and Brazil nuts. Several variations of the original candy are available, including chocolate-covered Turkey Joints with hazelnuts, and silvery candy "sticks” filled with dark chocolate and roasted cashews (per Nora's Candy Shop). The crackly candies are packed in glass jars for a distinctive retro look and for safety.

Serious Eats founder Ed Levine was curious to learn about Turkey Joints when he invited writer and editor Laurie Woolever on his podcast, "Special Sauce.” Woolever, who for many years served as a "lieutenant” to the late chef, author, and TV host Anthony Bourdain, grew up in Central New York and to this day is a big fan of the holiday treat.

"You can only get them from October to maybe April because then it gets too hot and humid and they don't ship well and they get kind of sticky,” Woolever explained to Levine. "They're just this funny little local thing ... It wasn't until I moved away that I realized they weren't everybody's Christmas treat, that they were just very specific to Central New York.”