Where Did Toffee Originate?

Have you ever wondered how English Toffee came to be?

We know you love Vern's Toffee as much as we do, with its amazingly buttery flavor and delicious crunch. But as you're eating your almond toffee, you may be wondering about the origins of our favorite treat and how English toffee came into existence.

A Murky Past

Toffee is apparently a fairly new construct, as the word only entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 1825. The dictionary at the time stated that the word "toffee" is a derivative of the word "taffy," which doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. Taffy seems to be a long stretch to toffee (pun intended) when we're talking about the sweet that was once known as "butter crunch," and not toffee. One food writer, Harold McGee, states that the word toffee is actually Creole in origin and means a mixture of molasses and sugar, but which Creole dialect it comes from is unknown.

English Toffee and American Toffee

The English may have had a confection that they called toffee, but there were differences between the two. For one thing, English Toffee is made form white sugar but brown sugar. English toffee, back in the 1800s, didn't have nuts in it either. So, English Toffee tasted different than the toffee we've grown to love. It could be that the origins of toffee come from the English due to the cheap source of sugar coming form the Caribbean in the 19th century. Indeed, there is a word for cheap Caribbean rum known as "tafia," which may or many not have to do with toffee. Tafia rum was often used to flavor candies because it was cheap.

So, even though toffee may have originated in the Western Hemisphere, chances are people responded better to the words "English toffee" than just plain toffee. Regardless of how you name it, Vern's World Famous Toffee is still the very best almond toffee around.