The Metropolist

Metropolist: Mouth-Watering Memories of Sweet Times, and Caramels, at Velatis

By The Metropolist
Friday, July 24, 2009

If you're a regular reader of our series of memories about places that have disappeared from the local landscape, you've probably thought more than once, "Geez, I wish I'd known that place was there back then." Well, the shop that is described here might no longer exist, but we have it on good authority that the candy is still being made:

Velatis Candy Store

Velatis caramels were somewhat synonymous with being a Washingtonian and were, for my family, one of the most coveted traditions of Christmas. My grandmother always had a bowl filled with the chocolate and vanilla treats at Christmas, and, in time, I would purchase little quarter-pound boxes to slip into my parents' Christmas stockings.

It saddens me to think that they are neither just a quick bus ride away at Ninth and G streets NW nor at the candy counters of Woodward & Lothrop. Over time, we have attempted to substitute other confections, but nothing quite compares to the rich melt-in-your-mouth taste of Velatis.

-- Joan Mattingly, Silver Spring

My mother took me there for ice cream, and we sat at the small tables with the aroma of the chocolate filling the store. The candy was poured onto marble slabs, and the ladies who worked there used small hammers to break the caramels into bite-size pieces. Each box was filled according to the customer's preference -- vanilla or chocolate sugary fudge, caramels, with and without nuts or marshmallow -- then wrapped. This process took a very long time because of the individual service. Everyone was happy, though, joking with the others in line, knowing full well that it was a slow process, with the wait well worth it.

-- Helen Rouhana, Alexandria

In the 1940s, my father bought candy for my mother on special occasions from the store on G Street. The boxes were wrapped in white paper with red ribbon. The candy was wonderful.

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