Roman Chewing Candy



The famous red and white wagon bearing the name “Roman Chewing Candy” is a true fixture of New Orleans tradition and can still be found in the streets today, clanging its bell and calling all to come to enjoy the hand-pulled chocolate, strawberry and vanilla taffy.

The Roman Candy Company began as a family treat with a recipe that dates back at least four generations. Great grandmother, Angelina Napoli Cortese, made the candy for family and friends at social and special events like Christmas and St. Joseph’s Day. Her son, Sam Cortese, who was a street vendor by trade since the age of 12, would on occasion bring the left over candy on his fruit and vegetable wagon to sell the next day. Roman Candy always sold very well and people began to ask for it, so Sam decided to try to sell candy on a regular basis. The problem however was that his mother didn’t have time to make candy everyday and still tend to her other children and do all the things that mothers do. Sam realized he would have to find a way to make his Roman Candy as he rolled along and sold it. In 1915, he went to a wheelwright named Tom Brinker and together they designed the wagon that is still used today. The Roman Candy gourmet taffy initially sold for 5 cents a stick and stayed at that price until 1970. After his death in 1969, Sam’s grandson took over the business and it continues to this day.

Now, to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the candy, the Cortese family members proudly present Roman Candy Rum. A rich Caribbean based rum, made from molasses, like the original candy, and flavored in the traditional Roman Candy flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry. A new tradition, from the old one, but with a twist. It taste just like the candy….but for grown ups!