The Roman Candy Man has always been sort of magic for me. When I was a kid we would hang out with our family friends the Erbs - their house was on Cohn Street uptown. My family all lived in Metairie, so just being uptown was a bit exotic and exciting. After eating po boys and sipping on Barq's root beer or, occasionally, cream soda, we three children would listen in the heat of the afternoon for the clop-clop, clop-clop. (This was, of course, before I felt the pain of service animals.) When he came... pure childhood bliss.
I've seen him around town since moving back to Nola, and it always brings me a little of that magic. And of course the candy is sold at Brocato's. But I figured it wasn't for me.
But standing there at Brocato's one day waiting for my watermelon ice, I happened to glance a box of candy with a printed ingredient list. I honestly don't know if the recipe changed - I would have sworn there was dairy in it. But as of now, the ingredients list reads as follows:
Roman Candy consists of glucose (corn syrup), sugar, vegetable shortening (no peanut oil), natural and artificial flavor and certified color.Vegan ingredients of course aren't the final word - because of course they don't address the wagon's mule. But just a few weeks ago, I saw the old wagon (which is nearly 100 years old) being pulled by a truck!
All told, I think it's fair to say that Roman Candy is back in my life. Healthy? No. Nostalgic? Extremely. New Orleans? One hundred percent.