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The Best Candy You’ve Never Heard Of

by Peter Candia
Modjeska Candy

One of America’s greatest confections has flown largely under the radar outside of its home state of Kentucky. The Modjeska was created in Louisville in the 1880s by Anton Busath to honor actress Helena Modjeska, who was performing in the city for the US debut of A Doll’s House. Flattered, the Shakespearean talent not only granted permission to use her name but even gifted Busath an autographed portrait to hang in his candy shop. The Modjeska was instantly loved— but what exactly is it? 

The Modjeska is a candy consisting of a handmade marshmallow that is dipped in gooey, amber-hued caramel. The individually wrapped treats are lusciously sweet and seriously addicting. Upon biting into a Modjeska, you are met with silky caramel before your teeth eventually sink into the pillow-like marshmallow. This isn’t a grocery store marshmallow or caramel out of a jar either— each component is expertly crafted in small batches.

Bauer's Candy Modjeska

Modjeska From Bauer’s Candy

After Busath created the treat, neighboring confectioners began to follow suit. Bauer’s Candy in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, was one popular purveyor of the sweet— originally selling it under the name of “Caramel Biscuit.” When Busath’s shop was tragically destroyed in a fire, Bauer’s Candy renamed the Caramel Biscuit to the Modjeska in honor of Anton Busath and his family’s now-retired business. Muth’s Candy, Dundee Candy and Schimpff’s Confectionery also produce the confection. 

I first had a Modjeska at nine years old when my Kentucky-raised Aunt brought a bag to me in New Jersey. Ever since then, I have dreamed of the pure bliss that a young me experienced when biting into the sweet for the first time. I went 15 years before enjoying one again and I can confirm that they are as magnificent as my memory serves.

Today, Modjeskas are still enjoyed and come in a variety of flavors, such as: sea salt, dark chocolate and bourbon sea salt. Bauer’s Candy remains a main producer of Modjeskas in the country and all of their handmade confections are available to be purchased online. The candy shop has been producing this beloved treat for over a century and if we are lucky, it’ll be here for a hundred more. 

Still, it begs the question: Why aren’t more people eating Modjeskas? Beats me.

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