Wockenfuss, the candy family
Candy is a family affair for Paul Wockenfuss, owner and president of Wockenfuss Candies. Over a dozen of his family members are employed making chocolate confections and selling candy in eight stores in Maryland. It’s been Paul’s family’s livelihood for 100 years and five generations. In 1915, Wockenfuss’ grandfather Herman Charles opened the first store under the name “Wockenfuss Candy Company.” The company is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Read all about it here.
Paul remembers candy being a part of his life since he was a child living in Gardenville in Northeast Baltimore – at the same address where the candy facility was located up to one and a half years ago. “We lived in a row house and my father (Herman Lee) made candy in the basement,” he said. “Those days, you came home from school and you pitched in to help pack up the day’s production.” His favorite candy is the cordial cherry.
Supplied with chocolate from Peter’s Chocolate in Lititz, Pa., Wockenfuss says the staff at the Harford Road location whips up about “seventy kinds” of chocolate treats: chocolate-covered marshmallows; fudge; chocolate- and caramel-coated apples, and dozens more delights. The large nonpareils at 1-3/4″ are the company’s top seller. A variety of sweets not made at the factory, including lollipops, jelly beans, licorice, hard candy, and dog treats, are also sold in the stores.
In the 12,000 square-foot production facility adjacent to the retail store, liquid chocolate rolls through the enrober. The machine creates a small “waterfall” of chocolate under which nuts fused with melted caramel pass on a moving belt to create cashew or pecan caramel patties. A “stringing machine” puts a thin wavy chocolate string atop the candy to identify it as either a pecan or cashew treat.
For Paul Wockenfuss, confections are both business and pleasure. “I love candy, I’ve always loved candy,” he said. “It’s never too early, and it’s never too late for a piece of candy.”