Ganong is Canada’s oldest candy company, started in 1873 by the Ganong family in St. Stephen, New Brunswick. Today, it’s run by the family’s fourth generation and the town is still home to the head office and manufacturing plant on One Chocolate Drive.
St. Stephen is known as Canada’s chocolate town and naturally has a chocolate museum which features the history of Ganong. There, you learn fun facts like former president R. Whidden Ganong used to eat two pounds of chocolate every day before he died at the age of 93.
In 1885, Ganong invented the chicken bone, a cinnamon hard candy with a soft chocolate centre. Apparently, it’s still a best seller today.
The Ganong Chocolatier Shoppe puts out little dishes of pink chicken bones to try. It’s kind of like grabbing a mint from the dish your grandmother always has out, including the part where you pry a piece apart from the rest of the sticky pile.
You suck on the hard chicken bone, until the cinnamon candy dissolves and splinters into pieces in your mouth. Like a chicken bone! Then while you try not to choke, the chocolate centre hits your tongue. Mmm. Weird.
In 1920, as the story goes, a candy maker was asked to create a chocolate bar with the texture of cheese to take along on fishing trips. I still don’t understand the cheese texture part of the request.
Anyway, that’s how the Pal-o-Mine was born, a bar of yellow fudge and coconut covered with chocolate and peanuts.
Ganong also makes Jason’s favourite Roman Nougat bar, white nougat embedded with bits of fruit-flavoured jellies.
Admission fee to Ganong chocolate museum: $5
One Pal-o-Mine chocolate bar: 89 cents
Jason clutching candy from the Ganong store: priceless
The Chocolate Museum, 73 Milltown Blvd., St. Stephen, New Brunswick, (506) 466-7848. Open March to November. Museum website here. More info on Ganong here.