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Business' candy canes in mint condition

November 16, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - In a hot kitchen Thursday, George Tsoukatos and his family partook in a decades-long tradition complete with secret ingredients.

It started with a copper kettle and ended with dozens of candy canes cooling on a table.

"He'll probably keep us here most of the morning making them," said Zo Tsoukatos, the namesake of Zo's Chocolates at 34 E. Main St.

She estimated that hundreds of candy canes would be made from the sticky process.

"There has got to be an easier way, but we haven't figured it out," she said.

George Tsoukatos boiled the sugar-based concoction in a kettle, then poured it on a buttered table for initial cooling. His wife, Elaini, took two slices and dyed them red and green.

George Tsoukatos then took the goop and stretched it on a large metal hook. He pulled the candy almost to the floor, then folded it onto itself while his daughter added peppermint oil.

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George and Elaini Tsoukatos folded in the colored pieces and took the still-soft candy to the children.

The family made an assembly line, rolling and stretching the candy like toddlers making Play-Doh snakes.

Good-natured teasing commenced about the shape and size of the crooks, with Mom saying she prefers the smaller ones.

And she's had a lot of experience to form that opinion.

"We grew up with making candy canes," Elaini Tsoukatos said.

"Her dad used to make them," Zo Tsoukatos said. "He passed away in the '70s, and then my dad took over."

In 1979, the family took a 9-foot candy cane to the White House for Amy Carter.

"We were rolling for hours," Elaini Tsoukatos said.

She snatched a broken piece during a brief break Thursday.

"I don't like hard candy, but I love these," she said.

Candy canes made Thursday will be sold at the business.

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