Listen as Sara Roahen, an SFA oral historian, sits down with New Orleans Roman Candy Man, Ron Kottemann.
Ron Kottemann acknowledges that New Orleanians are captivated by the very sight of the nearly century-old, wooden, mule-drawn cart that his grandfather designed and that Ron now directs down Uptown’s backstreets and through New Orleans traffic. And if that vision doesn’t tug at their heartstrings, Ron’s taffy-like Roman Chewing Candy hooks them at the sweet tooth. Rolled in wax paper and sold in roughly foot-long sticks, the candy comes in three flavors—vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry—all developed by Ron’s grandfather, Sam Cortese. Sam toyed with more flavors but limited the variety so that customers couldn’t be too wishy-washy in their selections. A street vendor needs to keep moving.
Happy Mardi Gras!
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