No trip to the beach is complete without a taste of caramel corn or salt water taffy and a visit to Ocean City, Maryland is no exception. The staff of Chesapeake Family LIFE took it upon ourselves to delve into the tasty treats to discern which is most pleasing to the palate.
Caramel popcorn dates back at least as far as the 1890’s with the introduction of Cracker Jack, an early version of which was offered at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. A few decades later, the treat made its way to the small seaside town of Ocean City, Maryland and has been a staple of summer diets ever since.
In 1910 Rudolph Dolle Sr. purchased a small salt water taffy stand and Dolle’s Candyland was born. A decade later the candy store had expanded it’s offerings to include not just taffy, but also fudge and caramel popcorn.
Competition soon followed and in 1937, Everett Fisher started a popcorn shop on the Ocean City boardwalk at Talbot Street. Today, the rivalry between Dolle’s and Fisher’s continues as each family has locations throughout the seaside town and beyond, each claiming to be the best.
In a recent Facebook post, we asked our readers to declare their favorite and Dolle’s was the winner. Staff members took it upon themselves to try a sampling from each establishment, as well as some from Wockenfuss.
“I really enjoyed Dolle’s – it was sweet and had a really great crunch to each bite,” shares our office manager Claire. “I like Fischer’s marginally better because it was slightly saltier. I love the mixture of sweet and salt and it had an equally satisfactory crunch to every kernel like Dolle’s did. I thought Wackenfuss was very sweet, almost too sweet, and had a more distinct butter flavor.”
Associate editor Joyce has long been a fan of Dolle’s, “I think the molasses in their recipe really makes the flavor stand out – also giving the mix a darker coloring and crunchier texture.”
“Dolle’s because it had a good light crunch and not too sticky,” says Jess, who designs our web ads.
Sales executive Kelly enjoyed the Wockenfuss recipe, describing it as not quite as sweet and a stronger butter flavor than the others while sales executive Jenn perferred Dolle’s.
Staff also sampled a variety of taffy, from Dolle’s Candyland, Wockenfuss and Candy Kitchen. It was a fairly unanimous decission that while the taste was good across the board, staff had a definite preference for shape, preferring the stick versions over the kiss or smaller rounded ones. Says Jess, “Wockenfuss because the long shape of the taffy makes it easier to take manageable bites and it had a great flavor.”