Lawrenceburg candy company is famous for "Modjeskas"

Each Modjeska is dipped by hand.

ANDERSON COUNTY, KENTUCKY-- People who wander into Bauer's Candies, get hit in the nose immediately with a wonderful aroma.

Just beyond the lobby, kettles of creamy caramel are cooking for hours a day, five days a week, year-round.

Owner Anna Bauer said "We've been around 128 years. The business started with my great grandfather, was handed down to my grandfather, my dad and now myself."

Bauer's has produced various candies over the years, but one thing has been its bread and butter, so to speak.-- a hand-dipped caramel with a marshmallow center called The Modjeska. It was named in honor of a famed Polish actress, Helena Majeska.

She performed in Louisville in the late 1800s and melted the heart of a candymaker named Anton Busath.

"The story is he fell in love with her," Bauer said. "He just thought she was magnificent. He took a box of caramel biscuits to her the next night and asked if he could call it Modjeska in honor of her. Of course, she said yes. "

Bauer's continued calling its treat the caramel biscuit, but when Busath's candy store burned down in 1947, he asked Anna's grandfather to take over the "Modjeska" name.

"He said our caramel biscuit was so much like his."

The operation moved to Lawrenceburg 19 years ago. There's nothing automated about the company.

The marshmallows are handmade and the caramel is kept soft in crock pots while the employees hand-dip each piece. Then they're moved to a table, where another crew hand wraps each one. Each employee has their own folding style.

" As you can see, there's an art to it," Bauer said. "That will probably never be automated. We try to keep true to the old-fashioned goodness of the candy."

Anna Bauer made the smartest decision of her life a few years ago when she took her candies to a Kentucky Craft show and met a representative of Cracker Barrel. He loved the Majeskas and they're now sold at 600 Cracker Barrel restaurants. You can also order them get online from Williams Sonoma. Modjeskas have been featured several times on the QVC shopping network. Ann's supply sells out each time they're offered.

"We try to do at least 12 batches of Majeskas a day," she said " Each batch holds about 890 to 950 pieces. You do the math. That's a lot of pieces."

They'll do 17 to 20 batches a day in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

So a small operation in a small town has hit the big time.

Even though the business has been around since 1889, many people are just now discovering its signature product.

"It's a simple concept, caramel marshmallow, but you have no idea until you actually try one," Bauer said. "And it makes me super proud when I see someone just turn on and they just love the Modjeska."


Spirit of the Bluegrass is sponsored by Regency Memory Care

To link to the Bauer's Candy website, click here

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