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Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014

Candy Raisins on the Shelf

Osmanium brings back a Milwaukee favorite

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Love them or hate them, Candy Raisins are making a comeback. The unique candy disappeared from store shelves back in 2008 when the Necco Candy Company, Candy Raisins’ previous manufacturer, closed their doors for good. The loss of this favorite local treat was felt deeply by Candy Raisin lovers. After coming on the scene in the late 1920s, the candy never quite caught on nationally, but was always very popular in Wisconsin. Luckily for fans of Candy Raisins, John Osmanski, director of operations at Osmanium Candy, heard the pleas for someone to bring this candy back to life. In October 2013, Osmanium released their version, Candy Sunshine V150.

Osmanski has been in the candy business for nearly 10 years. He began making candy while still a student at MSOE. “I was looking for a good idea to earn extra money for school and came up with selling chocolate-covered espresso beans,” says Osmanski. Sold under the name “Crackheads,” this original Osmanium candy can be found at retailers in the Milwaukee metro area, as well as online.

After graduation, Osmanski led a double life as a biomedical engineer by day, candy maker by night. When the opportunity arose to crack the secret recipe of those treasured Candy Raisins, he realized this was right up his alley. “First I tried to buy the machinery, then the brand and formulas, and in the end just decided to try to do it myself,” he explains. For the past three years, Osmanski attempted to recreate the beloved treat using a rare case of pristine Candy Raisins for guidance.

If you aren’t familiar with the unique flavor of a Candy Raisin, it can be difficult to pinpoint. The candy sort of resembles a gumdrop in shape, but is a brownish color. They’re not overly sweet, have a sort of a honey-floral-herbal flavor and may taste even better a little dried out.

“The classic Candy Raisins were often stale,” Osmanski says. “A lot of people remember them from their grandma’s candy dish, where they sat and dried out over a period of time.” So, that is the texture Osmanski ultimately would like to achieve. “We tell people who complain our version is too fresh to just leave them out for a month,” says Osmanski.

After years of tweaking and multiple versions, Osmanium’s Candy Sunshine V150 is spot on in flavor to the original Candy Raisins. Osmanski has somehow managed to capture that elusive combination of flavors that will transport you back to Sunday afternoons at Nana’s house.

For more information about Candy Sunshine V150 or a list of retail locations, visit osmanium.com or candysunshine.co.