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Regional Treats/Snacks

  • t

I seem to have gotten myself in a snack exchange with someone who lives on the west coast. We've agreed not to spend more than $20 on what goes in the box.

So my question is, what regional treats/snacks that are unique to PA/the east coast would you absolutely, beyond a doubt NEED to introduce some poor West Coast soul to in order to enlighten them about the awesomeness of the East Coast?


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  1. Soft pretzels and tastycakes. Do they have thomas' english muffins out there? Oh and how about krispy kreme donuts or (very local) Yum Yum donuts?

    1. I don't know about awesome, but made in PA would include:

      M&M/Mars (You could get your friend's name imprinted on M&M's, but that would probably put you over the $20 limit.)
      Pepperidge Farm goldfish
      Heinz (maybe they have a new chili sauce that would be good to dip fries. They used to mail you for free the little green pickle pins.)
      Utz potato chips seem to win a lot of awards for Best of...
      And if you consider a cookie a snack, there's the Moravian Spice wafers from Bethlehem, PA. Often called the world's thinnest cookie. Abundant at Christmastime, but maybe available year-round.

      5 Replies
      1. re: nemo

        Godiva is a Belgian company with manufacturing facilities (some contracted) in Pennsylvania. It is not a regional or local treat; it is international.

        1. re: Bacchus101

          Actually ... until 2007 Campbell's Soup owned Godiva, and they were sold to a Turkish conglomerate the Yildiz holding company. Chocolate for the US market is made in Reading PA.

          1. re: cwdonald

            Quite right, cw. Godiva is a producer of Belgian Chocolate with international distribution and now owned by Yildiz with headquarters in NYC. While US production is in Wyomissing, near Reading: I would would not call it a Regional Treat or Snack. I suppose that depends on ones definition of same. Turkish owned Belgian Chocolate with world wide distribution a and HQs in NYC; a local treat?

            1. re: Bacchus101

              Hershey can count as regional as they betatest on Central PA folks (note: if you wondered why their "special dark" is so queer, that's why).
              Also, there's tons of stuff that they dont' distribute everywhere.

              1. re: Chowrin

                As Hershey Chocolate was founded, established and originally produced only in PA: I for one would consider it a regionally based company. However the question posed is to find 'regional treats/snacks that are unique to PA/the east coast .......to introduce some poor West Coast soul to..." Thus Hershey and Godivia would not be an answer to the question due to their availability worldwide. Interesting comment on "special dark" being "so queer". Dark chocolate was the first chocolate confection (3000 years ago) initially as a drink. European companies have produced dark chocolate for hundreds of years. Hershey is most famous for his process for producing Milk Chocolate. A most wonderful Pennsylvania heritage.

      2. Treats from Philly:

        Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes (Tastykakes)
        Goldenberg Peanut Chews (currently sold as chew ets)
        Wilbur Buds
        Frank's Black Cherry Wishniak Soda

        I assume Synder's hard pretzels and the like are available on the West Coast (years ago they were not).

        1 Reply
        1. re: nevets

          hell, get some REAL hard pretzels.

        2. You could actually fill an entire box with different PA brands of potato chips. Utz are actually one of the largest producers, but I would stick to smaller companies such as: Herr's, Good's, Martin's, and Gibble's come to my mind first, but there are many, many others. You could do the same with pretzels, but I don't know where you are, and what you can get. Martin's hard pretzels (red bag, well done) are my favorite. There is also Hammond's, Sturgis .... again, the list could probably go on. Things like Hershey's, M&M, and Godiva are hardly unavailable on the West Coast, even if they do have factories (HQ, in the case of Hershey -obvioulsy) in PA.
          I agree about Tastycake - I didn't realize they are regional until I was about 20. My cousin moved to GA 12 years ago, and his mom still takes him Butterscotch Krimpets with every visit.

          1. Any local hard pretzel - Utz, Snyders, Unique, Martins. Pennsylvania makes a mean pretzel!

              1. re: bakersma

                Thank you for the Pork Roll reference. Its the greatest Philly food ever. And I second the Hanks Black Cherry. Best soda around.

                1. re: Gorp512

                  I say it's close enough (and tasy enough) for this project but Pork Roll is Jersey food!

                  1. re: jzerocsk

                    Jzerocsk, I thought the same thing at first too but then I checked Wikipedia which said "Hatfield Quality Meats of Hatfield, PA and Alderfer Premium Meats of Harleysville, PA also produce their own versions."

                    So I figured "Close enough !" :-) :-) :-)

              2. Betty's Buttons Fudge, or any of the locally made candies that they sell at Capogiro, like the great caramels, the marshmellows, or the Capogiro candied fruit peels (which make a great topping for cocktails). Also Amish whoopie pies, but you'd have to send those overnight. Thank you.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Bride of the Juggler

                  # 1 has to be TastkKakes. When I was overseas i the military, my freinds all use to wait for my monthly package from home to share in my tastykakes. Also, I would send some Birchbeer of Cream soda and lastly Goldberg Peanut Chews

                2. Check out the PA general store in the reading terminal market or on line for a one stop shop for many of the items listed above and more! They'll even ship Bassetts Ice Cream! http://www.pageneralstore.com/

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bigley9

                    What about chocolate covered pretzels?

                  2. From Pennsylvania Dutch Country: Shoo fly pie and whoopie pies.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: CindyJ

                      I grew up in Maine and we had Whoopie pies there too.

                        1. In 2002 I was in school at Berkeley, and the on-campus store - smaller than a wa-wa - had tastykakes. so i don't know you need to include that.

                          otoh, anything that says 'wawa' is always fun.

                          1. my husband introduced me to these things made in pottsville, pa called club sandwiches - have you heard of them?


                            they're incredibly simple but oh so good - peanutbutter sandwiched in between saltines, and covered in chocolate! cheap, too. not sure where you can find them locally, but you can order online...

                            1. I second the idea of betty's tasty buttons-- and would add Jubilee chocolates to the mix. How about a nice bottle of Blue Coat gin to boot? (The airport bottles are easy to ship and easy to find.)
                              Chow-chow, apple butter, etc. are great PA items (not necessarily Philly).
                              Finally, the one thing I always have to bring when we visit some out-of-towners is Marciano's breads and/or tomato pie. They ship too, via their web site.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: xtian

                                I am surprised no one has jumped on Peanut Chews (unless I missed it)?

                                And I LOVE the idea of a potato chip box - but you defintely have to include Grandma Utz in there.

                              2. I thought this was interesting. If you google Pennsylvania snacks, one of the links that comes up is to a book about Pa snacks. Yep you got it, snacks made in Pa. And the book description has the following line..
                                "Pennsylvania is the nation's snackfood capital. The Keystone State ranks number one in production of pretzels and potato chips and is famous for its chocolate, Lebanon bologna, and other snack foods."
                                Ahhhh yes! That is why we love our state so much!!! lol

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: mistyday56

                                  In Giants today, I found something called Oh Ryan's Irish Potatoes....basically a confection of cocnut wrapped in cinnamon.very tasty. $4.99 for 15 each about the size of a large marble (7oz)

                                  In 20 yrs of living in Pa (plus 2 back in the 70's) I had never heard of them. I'm sending them to my Siblings for St Pat's day even tho we aren't Irish. Obviously local (made in Philly) and very seasonal

                                  1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                    They have the same things (probably better tasting even) at Termini's for St. Patrick's Day.

                                    1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                      I've gotten them at the bakery in Ambler in the spring. If I remember correctly, they were 30 for $6, and that was because she wanted to sell all of them since they would be closed the next day. I don't believe she normally makes them after Easter.

                                      In addition to the Philadelphia area, I've seen them in the Allentown area at different candy stores and places between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.

                                  2. Those cheesy poofs tinged with honey!

                                    1. For local chocolate I would suggest Goldenberg Peanut Chews...

                                      Levi's black cherry soda if you want to throw in a non alcoholic beverage.

                                      If you are overnighting the package.. real philadelphia soft pretzels.