Updated: Apr 23, 2021
I was planning on writing about writing with this blog, but life offered up another plan and another idea. So my next few posts will be about Louisville.
It began with my husband. Because hubby had to undergo a medical procedure recently, we had to travel to Louisville for an overnight hospital stay.
Any time I travel, even in my home state, I'm always looking for learning opportunities, nuggets of history, or things considered strange, mysterious, or unique. Even a place as familiar as Louisville is to me, I still managed to learn something new.
During my stay, I came across something in the hotel gift shop that I've never heard of before: Modjeskas.
It's a buttery, caramel-coated marshmallow created in Kentucky in the late 1800s. Caramel is one of my favorite treats. How have I not known of this? For history nerds like me the gift shop was kind enough to place an information placard so I could learn more.
In 1883, a famous Polish actress known as Madam Helena Modjeska, appeared at the McCauley Theater in the debut of , "A Doll's House." One of the patrons was Mr. Anton Busath, immigrant from Alsace, France who owned Busath's candy store on Fourth Street near the McCauley Theater. He asked if he could name a candy after her and was granted permission to do so.
Since it was close to the holiday season, Anton's son, Edgar Busath, collaborated with a his friend Rudy Muth, the owner of Muth's Candies on Market Street. They used Muth's kitchen to to make candy for friends and family for Christmas.
Unfortunately, Edgar was unable to reopen Busath's, so he gave the Modjeska recipe to Muth. Muth's Candy, now in it's fourth generation is Louisville's oldest and finest candy store. And they still make Modjeskas and ship them all over the world. As does Bauer's in Lawrenceburg, one of Kentucky's oldest confectioner's (since 1889).
In spite of the fascinating history, I stood in the gift shop embroiled in a heavy internal debate over whether I should try the Modjeskas or get the Muth's bourbon balls. Bourbon balls are much beloved candy since childhood that usually accompanies Christmas in Kentucky. When I have time and energy, it's a candy I love to make to give to family and friends for the holidays.
Though I was heartily tempted by the Modjeska for the sheer novelty of the candy, I opted for the bourbon balls because I wanted to see how they stood up against homemade. Muth's were some of the best commercially produced bourbon balls I've tasted and are the closest to homemade than most.
But, in my book, homemade is better. I still might check out those Modjeskas though. Maybe get some for Derby Day.
Bauer's Candy, established 1889, 1103 Dylan Drive, Lawrenceburg, KY 40342 https://www.bauerscandy.com/
Muth's Candy, established 1921, 630 E Market St, Louisville, KY 40202