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Fort Collins’ Colorado Candy Company churns out holiday treats with a nostalgic twist

Posted at 11:07 AM, Nov 07, 2019
and last updated 2021-01-05 17:25:36-05

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Halloween is gone, and the holidays are upon us.

So, it's time to throw out the candy corn and stock up on the candy canes.

You're in good company, too, with a Colorado candy maker spinning sugar the old-fashioned way.

Step inside the Colorado Candy Company, where it's Christmas every day.

“It doesn't matter what time of year it is, if we're making ribbon candy, there's Christmas music playing,” said owner John Buonicotti.

“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” also plays in the background while three men channel their inner Willy Wonka, churning out all the layers of childhood fun.

“When people come in, and they smell that smell of the sugar cooking, and they get a fresh sample right off the table…” Buonicotti said. “Again, that nostalgic reaction.”

Buonicotti and his buddies Brian Cook and Jade Windell joined forces four years ago, found antique candy-making equipment, and have been using old family recipes to deliver boxes of smiles to holiday homes across the Rocky Mountain region.

“We make a couple thousand pounds of candy a week out of this little facility,” Buonicotti said.

The tasty treats handmade at their Fort Collins shop will take you back to a much simpler time. Ribbon candy is their specialty, using a crimping machine from the 1800s.

“You can see how thin that is,” he said while showing off a candy piece fresh from the line. “It is just like it's supposed to be.”

They also make other hard candies, cotton candy, and peanut brittles.

“We do what we call brittle crackle,” Buonicotti said. “So, it's peanut brittle over Rice Krispies cereal, and it just falls apart in your mouth.”

Their flavors are always evolving, from blueberry colada to more traditional cinnamon.

“That peppermint in the air,” he said. “It's like one of the best parts of my day.”

But the memories their candy creates, Buonicotti hopes, last forever.

“Being able to bring tears to someone's eye, while also bringing them joy — that's what we look for,” Buonicotti said. “That's why we make candy.”