Velatis In The News -

Melt-in-Your-Mouth 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.

-- 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 awesome!

-- 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 your mouth.

-- 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