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Turkey Joints and Their Deliciousness…and That’s Coming from a Vegetarian [OPINION]

Photo: Kristine Bellino

What are turkey joints?  For a moment we will step away from the journalistic creed of objectivity and describe them as “yummaciousness.”

They look like one might imagine the bone of a turkey to look – and in fact that is just what my children thought they were when I brought them home (in the interest of research) to do this blog post.  As the manufacturer, Nora’s Candy Shop, says on the company’s website, “The only thing the feathered version and the candy version have in common is the name and perhaps a slight resemblance to the aforementioned appendage.”

Photo: Kristine Bellino

What is most surprising about the candy is that, despite the fact that the company and candy have been around since 1919, this roving reporter only learned about them after moving to Central New York (the “C” gets capitalized when you live here).  And I have travelled all over the world and have eaten a lot of candy.

Kristine Bellino

Turkey Joints are made in Rome, New York.  Outsiders will say that the city is located “upstate,” despite the fact that the Utica-Rome Metropolitan area is, correctly, considered to be “central” New York by the United States Census Bureau.

Joe Fusco 2013  Photo by: Kristine Bellino

The current mayor of Rome is Joseph Fusco, who presides over things like a city with a population of about 35,000, promotes the proud tradition of “Honor America Days” events, and has the honor of being in charge of a city that produces the deliciousness known as Turkey Joints.

Rome Honor America Days 07282012 by Kristine Bellino
Honor America Days 2012, Kristine Bellino

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turkey Joints are about the size of the finger of the average 7-foot giant, and they do kind of look like a bone.  For this reason it surprises this non-native New Yorker that they are considered more of a Christmas-season holiday candy and not, as might be more ghoulishly appropriate, a Halloween delicacy.

The outside shell is a very sweet coating of a candy that appears to be a mix of opaline and silver.  It shines, and acts as a cover which protects winter hands warmed by mittens from the chocolately goodness inside.

The chocolate has the smoothness perfected by European chocolatiers, and the Brazil nuts used in the recipe certainly give it that flair.  But the taste of the candy on the outside dances with the chocolate inside, giving your taste buds the same feeling that you get after doing holiday shopping along Main Street USA, building a gingerbread house with your children, watching an episode of “Happy Days,” and then sitting down to have a mug of hot chocolate (wait, not everyone does that?).
They are a bit on the pricey side (about $17 for a twelve-ounce jar).  Their appearance on store shelves is seasonal (October through May) so if you like them you should stock up on them (or put them on your holiday wish list).
They come in three varieties: Original, Chocolate Covered, and Coco-Monds.  The latter two are more difficult to find but you can get them directly through Nora’s website.
The formula for making them is, of course, a secret.  But the candy itself need not be.  If you are reading this outside of Central New York you may wish to consider gifting them this holiday season.  And ~ although this is an opinion piece which is subject to debate by those who disdain chocolate, candy, and delectables of any kind ~ one might make the case that, even if you are in the sunny south, the gift of Turkey Joints may make you the coolest kid on the block.
Opening the Jar Reveals Protective Tissue Top      Photo: Kristine Bellino
And the Turkey Joints Definitely Need to be Protected        Photo: Kristine Bellino
There they are!    Photo: Kristine Bellino
By the way, not to be outdone, neighboring city Utica has taken note of the importance of Turkey Joints and these other CNY greats:

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