One of our guilty pleasures is watching QVC when no one is looking. We are fascinated by the entire scene, especially when we hear about how many items are being sold.
Last year we saw a presentation on Landies Candies stuffed pretzels. It was mentioned they are based in Buffalo.
Wait? What? Did we hear that?
Filing it away, we were determined to get to the bottom of the story this year. Of course we promptly forgot until recently, when we saw QVC’s David Venable yumming up the pretzels on his “In The Kitchen With David” segment. Alarm bells went off - we needed to find these pretzels.
Putting on our Nancy Drew outfit, we tracked down Landies Candies in the Tri-Main Building (2495 Main St., Suite 350) and made a trek during our lunch hour. At the darling shop, we met president Larry Szarma, who filled us in on all the pretzel points.
Landies Candies has been in business 32 years, spending 21 years at the Tri-Main. The stuffed pretzel is Landies signature candy. Szarma is the inventor. “I have a patent pending for the U.S. and Canada for the pretzel concept.”
So what is that concept? Landies starts with a crispy, lightly salted Pennsylvania Dutch pretzel. Each pretzel chamber is loaded with a specialty filling. The pretzel is then coated with chocolate, gets a topping and is finished with more chocolate. The store has a handy sign that spells all the steps out.
Landies makes more than 50 different kinds of pretzels throughout the year. “We use the best ingredients available and the filling we put in the pretzel hits the three S's - salt, sweet and stuffed,” Szarma said.
The fillings give each pretzel its unique taste with flavors including dark mint truffle, milk brownie truffle, caramel pecan turtle and peanut butter finger.
So how did Landies get its pretzels on to QVC, the TV home shopping mega retailer?
“My mom was a QVC customer and said we needed to make a pitch. We did, so here we are,” said Szarma. He notes getting on QVC is one thing. “But staying on QVC is another,” he said.
The stuffed pretzels must be a hit because this will be Landies fourth year selling on QVC. A few years ago, Landies was a “Today’s Special Value,” selling almost 5 million pretzels that year.
“UPS had to send a special plane to pick them up,” Szarma said. Pretzels are made by Landies, but packaged and shipped by different vendors. Szarma said they are up to 2 million pretzels this year for the holiday.
But lucky Buffalonians don’t have to order from QVC. Landies' Tri-Main shop sells a variety of pretzels including a single pretzel ($5), twin packs ($5.50) and other multi-packs containing up to 24 pretzels. Some come in tins or special packaging, and range from $15 to $47. (We like the twin packs as stocking stuffers or co-worker gifts.)
If you are looking for more variety or if you want to ship them as a gift, QVC has more selections. We recommend calling Landies first to see if they have what you want, and if they don’t, go the QVC route.
Also at the shop we found sponge candy, a hand-crafted chocolate bar with lots of good stuff like nuts and containers of "creamy cups" with different fillings, including the standard peanut butter. The shop also sells gift cards.
Landies Candies (Tri-Main Building, 2495 Main St., Suite 350) is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call ahead if you want to have items ready (834-8212). The Tri-Main also has The Lunch Box Café, so you can have lunch while you are there.