Filed Under:

Valomilks: A Sweet Treat That Runs Down Your Chin

Play associated audio

The Valomilk was once advertised as "the 5-cent candy bar with the 50-cent taste." And while the price has changed, the product has not.

For more than 80 years, the family-owned Russell Sifers Candy Company has been using the same recipe to churn out a rich concoction of chocolate and creamy marshmallow goo.

The candy-making machines are busy on the factory floor in Merriam, Kan., just southwest of Kansas City. This is the headquarters of the century-old company, where Russell Sifers himself is a fourth-generation candy maker.

This factory produces one thing and one thing only.

"We make Valomilks. It's the only product we make," Sifers says. "They come in only one size and only one flavor. I don't think anybody else in the world makes only one product."

Singular they may be, but this little candy's name tells you little about what you'll find when you unwrap one. That is, until Sifers breaks it all down.

The "V" in Valomilk comes from the real Bourbon vanilla the company uses, Sifer says. "Alo" alludes to the marshmallow, and "milk" gives the name a creamy feel — all wrapped up in two pure milk chocolate cups.

"When you bite into the crisp chocolate shell — which is hand-tempered — the marshmallow will ooze out and run down your chin," he says.

Indeed, it's easy to make a mess while eating one, but that doesn't worry Sifers. "We have a saying: You know it's a Valomilk when it runs down your chin," he says. "Guaranteed to be the messiest candy in the country, but that makes 'em fun."

Legend has it that the Valomilk was created almost by accident back in 1931. A candy-maker named Tommy was making candies known as penny marshmallows, Sifers says.

"Well, one day, Tommy got drunk," he says. "You see, vanilla has a high alcohol content, and in the old days, candy-makers were notorious for taking a few snorts now and then.

"One time, Tommy had a few too many and messed up a batch of marshmallow," Sifers says. "Instead of setting up, where it could be cut, it remained runny — even after it had cooled down."

Sifers says his grandfather didn't want to see the batch go to waste and thought, " 'Hmmm. Why don't we take a scoop of that and put it into a chocolate cup ... and see what it tastes like?' "

So they filled a chocolate cup with the marshmallow goo and put some chocolate on top, Sifers says. "Cooled the chocolate back down, and when they bit into it, it ran. That's not supposed to run. It's wrong!

"So," Sifers says, "we've been making wrong right, ever since 1931."

Copyright 2012 Kansas Public Radio. To see more, visit

WAMU 88.5

Kate Mulgrew: "Born With Teeth" (Rebroadcast)

Kate Mulgrew, who stars as "Red" in the Netflix TV series "Orange Is The New Black", opens up in a new memoir about her complicated family and the baby she gave away for adoption as a young woman.


Swapping The Street For The Orchard, City Dwellers Take Their Pick Of Fruit

Urban foragers don't just pick their meals from the trash; many eat only the finest, freshest produce — picked from city trees. The League of Urban Canners harvests fruit from trees to make jam.

Reconsidering The Pilgrims, Piety And America's Founding Principles

Conservatives who want to emphasize America's Christian roots embrace the story of the Pilgrims and the Mayflower Compact. But some historians say their role in the country's founding is overstated.

From Takeout To Breakups: Apps Can Deliver Anything, For A Price

Convenience is at an all-time premium — and a lot of smartphone apps promise to make many of the things we do every day easier. In a time-crunch or sheer laziness, how far will the apps take us?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.