Idaho's Famous Spud Bar Is A Chocolate Confection Sans Potato

Though there are many wonderful things about the state of Idaho, nothing is more iconic than its staple crop. Potatoes have been a source of Idaho pride and income since they were first planted in the state's fertile fields in the mid-19th century. Yet, there is another equally famous spud that does its part to spread the Gem State's fame. It's called the Idaho Spud, and it isn't a vegetable; it's candy. 

The Idaho Spud is a chocolate confection made by the Idaho Candy Company. The bar comprises a pillowy core of cocoa-flavored marshmallow slathered in a mildly bitter dark chocolate coating and dusted with shaved coconut pieces. The candy offers a unique shape (which we'll get to) and has a texture unlike most that bear a marshmallow core. Unlike bars that ooze when bitten into, the marshmallow center in an Idaho Spud is firm and holds its form.

Not that Idaho needed any more potatoes, but this iconic candy bar is one you don't have to dig out of the ground. It has been a best seller for the Idaho Candy Company for over a century and can be found in stores across Idaho and many nearby states.

A sweet Idaho history

The Idaho Spud was first manufactured in 1918, just 17 years after the Idaho Candy Company was founded by a journeyman candy maker, T.O. Smith. He'd worked in Chicago and Salt Lake City before settling on Idaho as the state in which to build his sweet legacy. The enterprising Smith started by making candies out of his home and selling them door-to-door out of a shoe box. Once the business had gained enough traction, in 1909, the Idaho Candy Company's one and only factory was built in Boise. 

Though The Spud became the most popular, it was neither the first nor the only bar developed by Smith. The chocolate-covered marshmallow confection has been the company's number-one best-seller for over a century and has firmly cemented it as a regional icon. Today, the Idaho Candy Company produces around 30,000 Idaho Spuds a day and ships them to 12 states for retail sale. However, if you have a hankering for an Idaho Spud, you can get a box of a dozen for $14.99 before shipping.

Not only in the business of growing Spuds, the Idaho Candy Company has many other offerings, including the Old Faithful Bar, a pecan cluster bar with a gooey marshmallow center, and the Cherry Cocktail, a truffle-shaped chocolate with a shell of ground peanuts and milk chocolate encasing a maraschino cherry cream center. 

How the Spud got its shape

The Idaho Spud candy bar shape is, as you might guess, pretty on the nose. Because why sell a candy bar called a "spud" without it being shaped like a potato? The candy bar has an oblong shape that is unmistakably inspired by Idaho's main crop (though, in terms of verisimilitude, it doesn't go quite as far as the ice cream potato). 

It seems clear enough that the Idaho Candy Company wanted to both honor and get in on the national prominence of the state's potato crop. By 1918, when the candy bar premiered, Idaho potatoes were already a multimillion-dollar industry. It seems evident that the company would want to ride the coattails of the state's potato frenzy, not just for the marketing angle but also for the heritage. And the strategy worked since both spud varieties are still doing great business.

So, if you live in, are planning a visit to Idaho, or are just a vintage candy aficionado looking for a new sweet to try, the Idaho Spud will certainly be worthwhile. It's a favorite among Gem Staters and candy lovers alike for its unique shape, texture, flavor, and history.