The Nostalgic Candy You Can Only Find In Wisconsin

Nostalgia is the yearning for feelings of the past. And sometimes, even foods we haven't seen, smelled, or tasted in years have the power to induce these gratifying sentiments, including indulgences like warm chocolate chip cookies, piping hot chicken pot pie, melty macaroni and cheese, and of course, lip-smackingly good candy.

Many old-school candies have been making fairly successful comebacks among sweets enthusiasts across generations, like Goo Goo Clusters, Charleston Chews, Bulls-Eyes, and more (via Taste of Home). Despite a slew of economic downturns and a skyrocketed increase in nutritional knowledge, a lot of these confectioneries never ceased production. But one candy in particular was discontinued and almost gone forever... that is, until it was resurrected due to popular demand of southeastern Wisconsinites. Here's a hint: This beloved, cult-favorite product is named after a dried fruit, but very few fans — and the actual candymaker — claim that it has its namesake's flavor. Behold! Candy raisins.

What are candy raisins and what makes them so unique?

Wait a minute... candy raisins?! That's right. Candy raisins are a soft, gummy juju candy invented in Milwaukee back in the 1930s by a famous Bavarian confectioner by the name of George Ziegler, per Shepherd Express. If you have ever lived in or traveled to Wisconsin, chances are you've enjoyed a handful of golden-colored candy raisins — or have at least seen them on display or heard someone talk about how amazing they are. But what makes these so-called "candy raisins" so unbelievably special to fans?

It all has to do with the interpretation of the consumer. It's quite challenging for someone to put their finger (or perhaps taste buds?) on the distinct flavor of candy raisins. Some people taste pleasant floral notes like lilac or rose, while others suggest more of a honey, ginger, caramel, or spice flavor. For that reason, it's widely believed that candy raisins are likely named for their texture: chewy with a somewhat wrinkly pattern on its surface, per Milwaukee Business Journal.

Ziegler Candy Company sold the recipe for candy raisins to Stark Necco in 1976, and the successor trademarked the Candy Raisin brand. Sadly, Stark Necco closed its factory doors in 2008. But then, in 2014, John Barker, a self-proclaimed candy raisins connoisseur from the town of Delafield, founded Lake Country Candies to revive the iconic treat. "I've been loving those candies since I was just a little kid. I can remember riding my bike up to the golf course and going to the vending machine and grabbing a bag and just loving it," Barker said in an interview with Fox 6 Milwaukee.