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Off Main Street (Sept. 24): Sponge candy land

A sweet holiday

Buffalo folks sure love their sponge candy. And this week they had reason to celebrate their affection.

Fans of the local delicacy can thank Fowler’s Chocolates, the Buffalo-based chocolatier, which declared Wednesday the second annual “National Sponge Candy Day.”

The tradition started last year, when Mayor Byron W. Brown proclaimed Sept. 21, 2015, as “National Sponge Candy Day” in Buffalo. (So it’s somehow a “national” day, but only in Buffalo? The celebration is not listed on

Regardless of the holiday’s origins, Buffalo’s sweet tooth for sponge candy is obvious. Walk into any candy shop or chocolate maker in the region and you’ll find shelves stocked with its sugary sweetness.

And if you love the candy, you’ll love these quick facts about it:

• Buffalo sits in what’s known as “Sponge Candy Crescent,” an area along Lake Erie’s eastern shore, with the strongest areas from Erie, Pa., to Rochester, according to some in the candy-making industry.

• The concept for the sponge candy initially came from Europe, according to Saveur Magazine. In the United States, it probably was created originally in the New England area, a chocolate company consultant told Buffalo Spree in 2012.

• The area’s love affair goes back decades. If you ask Fowler’s, it goes back to 1910, when they started making it here. Each year, they make more than 35,000 pounds, the company said.

• A North Tonawanda company, Platters Chocolates, got a tax break earlier this year to build a new plant, a move aimed at increasing production and with that spreading sponge candy love across the country.

• One of the newest sponge-candy concoctions in the area is a cannoli infused with the sweet treat.

• Sponge candy got the Food Network’s attention in 2011 on the show “Kid in a Candy Store.”

No Buffalove

Oh no she didn’t.

Reality TV star Kim Zolciak-Biermann, late of “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” wasn’t feeling the Buffalove on her newer reality show, “Tardy for the Party.”

In an episode that aired Wednesday night, Zolciak-Biermann met with husband Kroy Biermann’s NFL agent to discuss his free agency. She ran down a list of teams she deemed acceptable for Kroy to join, based on where she would be willing to live.

“Tampa, Miami, New York City, let me live there,” she said.

Buffalo definitely did not make the cut.

“I mean, Buffalo, what am I gonna do there?” she said, dismissively.

In all fairness, the episode was filmed before Kroy was signed to (and subsequently cut from) the Bills, and before she was welcomed to the city with open arms when she visited him in Rochester.

Regardless, fans were quick to turn on Kim after the snipe aired. Nicole Spaulding, who took to Facebook, was one of them.

“Pfft, she couldn’t handle Buffalo! And clearly they weren’t good enough to stay anyways,” she wrote.

Plans for an uncertain future

The outcome of the upcoming presidential election could lead to significant shifts in national policy, and that’s causing some angst for at least one member of the Buffalo School Board.

Carl P. Paladino, who is opposed to a proposed gender identity policy and full of reasons the board should delay approving it, expressed concern at this week’s meeting that a new administration could reverse the federal government’s directive for districts to adopt such a rule.

Other board members, however, scoffed at the prospect of putting off a vote, noting that a lot of other things the board has no control over could happen.

“Well what if the world comes to an end tonight,” said board member Sharon Belton-Cottman. “We won’t have a problem.”

Off Main Street is written by Tiffany Lankes with contributions from Aaron Besecker and Samantha Christmann. e-mail:

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