Ark of Taste
Roman Taffy Candy
Roman Taffy Candy was originally passed to the Sicilians from the Phoenicians. In the 1890s this confection was produced and sold in New Orleans by Sam Cortese, the original Roman Taffy Man. Sam’s business was predominately selling fruits and vegetables from a goat-drawn cart, until the wonderful taste of his taffy – made by his mother using a secret Sicilian family recipe – caught on. By 1915, Sam’s taffy became a New Orleans hit and he had a special cart created just for the business, a candy store on wheels.
Originally, taffy was used as an avenue for people to keep their teeth clean. Now, it is a savory treat that has become New Orleans' signature candy.
When Sam Cortese died in 1969, his grandson, Ron Kottenmann took his place in the taffy cart. Today Ron keeps the tradition alive by pulling the taffy from the same hook and using his grandfather’s recipe. Ron also continues to sell the taffy on the streets of New Orleans from a mule-drawn cart.