Old Fashioned Hungarian Parlor Candy, for Christmas
In Hungary, the custom of hanging gaily wrapped candies on the Christmas tree dates from the 19th century. The Christmas tree was usually placed in the "szalon," which is what Hungarian city families called their living room or parlor.
Szalon or parlor candies are first wrapped in white tissue paper with fringed ends, then in colored foil, and hung from the tree by a string. You can also tie a candy at each end of a string, and loop it over a tree branch. The original candies were a type of fondant that came in two basic flavors, vanilla and chocolate. Later, chocolate covered jelly type candies came into fashion, and today, there is a mind boggling variety of flavors. In Hungary, making szaloncukor at home used to be a cottage industry, a way for families to make a little extra money. Today they are made and sold commercially in Hungary, and also exported all over the world.
Most children of Hungarian background can recall the anticipation as well as frustration of having to wait for an adult family member to "cut down" a few of the candies from the tree, for immediate consumption. "Clever" children quickly learned that a little piece of crumpled paper could easily be substituted for the foil wrapped candy! Parents would feign surprise when it came time to take down the tree and found all the candy wrappers empty! (On the other hand, they probably did the same when they themselves were children - or maybe even as grown-ups!)