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
-- 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.
-- Ann Rudd, Arlington
Mother always received a two-pound box of Velatis mixed caramels
for her birthday, much to the delight of our entire family --
even the dog, who eagerly devoured his small piece of the chewy
chocolate variety. And a Velatis butterscotch sundae? Totally
-- Ellen R. Keck, McLean
Falling snow added to the excitement of standing in the long
line that snaked around the block at Ninth and G streets NW to
the entrance of Velatis. Once inside, your senses were
overwhelmed by the delicious aroma from large pans of scored
cool caramels, which employees were breaking into bite-size
squares on marble counters using small hammers.
-- Grace Trout, Silver Spring
At age 9 I told my mother that I wanted to work for Velatis when
I grew up. I explained that it was the only job I'd seen where
you bang a hammer and eat candy all day.
-- Yvonne Cecchini, Hastings, Minn.
Velatis caramels! If you ever had them, you'll never forget
them. My favorite was the chocolate without nuts that melted in
-- Esther Badt Balsamo, Washington
My mother used to bring pound boxes home every so often, and
when I was in the Army in Germany in 1955-56, two female friends
of my mother's would send me a box once a month or so. Needless
to say, the caramels would last less than a day in the barracks.
-- Joe Lane, Bethany Beach