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Speach Family Candy Shoppe

In 1920, a young Italian immigrant, as his great-grandson explains, came to the United States to join some of his family who had already made the trip. His name was Michele Spicciati, which became, in its brief Americanization, Michael Speach. His great-grandson, also Michael, inherited the name, and along with other family members, the business of producing the delicious chocolates and other candies that Syracusans – and now the entire Internet shopping community – prize.

“The family was huge,” Michael told me. “My great-grandfather was one of 10 children, and one of the triplets. He also had 10 children.” Explaining the “Speachisms” that lends a bit of humor to the company’s website, he said, “They began as little jokes among the family who worked in the business. When you work with family, you are co-workers and family members. It’s almost like you take on a persona for on-the-job. And many of my co-workers who aren’t family are friends. So there’s a unique kind of relationship, and we started calling something we would routinely say or do a ‘speachism.’ It became one of our trademarks.” And his sister Connie, he noted, just rolled her eyes!

Back to great-grandfather, the company’s founder: he didn’t initially work in candy making. With so many family members already in the United States, established and working in a variety of businesses, Michael moved from job to job, eventually ending up in a cough drop company in Syracuse. There, he learned the basics of candy making, getting an intensive course in the chemistry of sweets.

Making candy is a little like making magic – the process combines sugar, flavors, and a variety of select ingredients in very precise amounts, cooking them at carefully monitored temperatures, cooling and packaging them at just the right moment to make a treat that will – just like that – bring a smile to anyone’s face. Once he’d gotten the basics, great-grandfather Michael began to collect and experiment with recipes, adapting from old ones and creating new ones.

“My great-grandfather had a set list of recipes,” said Michael. “But probably his most famous was a candy something like a Bun Bar, but made of chocolate, homemade buttercream, and roasted peanuts. He called it the Peanut Cream Bar. We stopped making it for a while, but brought it back and re-named it the Superior Bar.”

Another long-time favorite is the Peanut Brittle, still being made in a recipe almost identical to his great-grandfather’s. Ten decades of sweet popularity.

Michael’s mother, when she ran the business, added among others, a recipe for Truffles. That recipe has been expanded by Michael and has taken a new twist with the addition of top-shelf wines and spirits – “adult” truffle flavors. “We use only the best alcohol flavorings,” explained Michael, “so we can call them Top Shelf Truffles. Because everyone needs a little cocktail in their lives!”
Another candy line that has long been popular, and enjoyed a renewed trend, are the brickles. The ancient word “brickle” simply means brittle – crisp, breakable. This confection is a thin sheet of chocolate mixed with nuts, crunch pieces, and assorted flavorings. “Around Christmas, my mother would make peppermint and almond brickle,” said Michael. “They were offered especially at holiday time, but eventually they took on a life of their own, and we expanded the line to over 80 different brickles.” Glancing at the website, you can see not only the wide variety, but the sense of fun that seems apparent in everything the company does: “Sweet Stimulus Brickle, “Cashew Later Brickle,” “Danse Macabre Brickle,” and “Bottom of the Bag Brickle.” Speaking of bag, the brickles are advertised as offering something for every taste bud, and are “sold in resealable bags.” Though why the bag would need a resealing feature when the contents will clearly be enjoyed on the first round escapes this writer! 

Speach’s keeps retail hours, but they are being as careful as possible to protect their customers. They are making deliveries, are limiting the number of customers at any given time during in-store hours, and asking that in-store customers cooperate with masks and distancing, as well as ringing the bell to enter.

Speach’s has been at its present Lodi Street location for 25 years now, but it has moved around “with the family.” Michael explained that in his grandfather’s generation, the company moved from place to place as successive brothers in that generation took the reins. Now, between its having put down roots, and a widely expanded customer based thanks to online shopping, Speach’s enjoys steady popularity that is enhanced by attention to tastes. “Candy is a trendy treat,” said Michael. “We are always watching to see what’s new or back in style while making sure we keep offering what our customers want and expect.” 

A quick glance at the many, many offerings at the store, and online, also assures us that Speach’s knows its business well. In addition to its own versions of beloved favorites, and Speach Family Candy Shoppe specialties, the store offers many of those candies you remember from childhood – but aren’t likely to find in the candy aisle at most stores – Bit ‘o’ Honey, Black Jack Chewing Gum, Red Hots and Candy Necklaces, among many others. You’ll also find chocolate chips, pretzels, gifts, fudge, miniatures, and a wide range of molded chocolates in just about every shape you can imagine.

Make your plans now for Valentine’s Day giving. The shoppe makes a thoughtful policy of closing ordering early so that no order goes unfilled! But why wait for a special occasion? Candy this good is a perfect treat for any reason.

The Speach Family Candy Shoppe

2400 Lodi Street – Syracuse, NY 13208


Monday-Saturday… 10AM-5PM
Sunday… Closed

You may also schedule an appointment by calling 315-478-3100 or e-mail at speachcandy@gmail.com

Facebook – www.facebook.com/speachfamilycandy
Twitter – @SpeachCandy
Instagram – speachcandy

Order now for Valentine’s Day! Orders stop in time for preparation as we never want to disappoint.

Nancy Roberts
Writer, voice over artist, information achitect, very curious person.