I am going to admit that I bought this candy just because it is so pretty. It is literally eye candy for me, although last night after dinner my family and I finally started breaking off pieces and eating it, enjoying the way the colors hinted at the subtle flavors in the shattering sugar bits: peppermint, lemon, orange, cinnamon.
Ribbon candy is unabashedly pretty. It is made with the same technique as taffy, where a melted sugar mixture is colored and flavored and then, as it cools, it is pulled and shaped into its final form. Ribbon candy in particular can be a challenge to make, because the timing of the work is closely correlated with the temperature of the candy as it cools and hardens. Here are a couple of videos that show how the Hercules Candy Company of New York makes their ribbon candy the old fashioned way, by hand:
If you want to try it yourself, a recipe and directions can be found here-- although the lack of skill on the candy maker's part is evident in the pictures.
Even the Hilliard's Company, which shapes their ribbon candy by machine, has lots of tricky physical work to do in making their candy:
Kate of Accidental Hedonist has been doing tons of fabulous research on candy, and I was delighted to see her post about the glorious hard and pretty candies of Scotland. I see some candies there I know I tried as a child and never knew they were from Scotland-- land of my ancestors. Thank you Kate!