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Davidson of Dundee — A Taste Of Old Florida
Davidson of Dundee is one of those “Old Florida” icons. The company has been featured on the Food Network, Fox, CBS, ABC, and has also been featured in Smart Money and Southern Living magazines. The citrus candy factory and retail store is located in Central Florida right on busy Highway 27, in Dundee (about a 30 minute drive from Kissimmee). The Florida landmark is a family owned business and has been operated by members of the Davidson family for three generations. There’s a short video about the history of the company that is worth watching if it’s your first visit. Back in the early 1900s T. W. Davidson grew oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines near Dundee. In the 1960s his son, Glen, planted his own citrus groves.
When Glen was a child his mother made a delicious confection from citrus juice and sugar cane from the Florida Everglades. Later, Glen created his own version of the citrus candy, using the fresh juices from his groves. The candy had a sweet-tart flavor along with a unique jellied texture and instantly became a hit with friends and family. Back-in-the-day there was no social media marketing, but through old fashioned word of mouth people from all over began asking for a taste of the Florida citrus candy.
Florida Citrus Candy — Yummy Free Samples
Today Glen’s son, Tom Davidson, runs the family business. Tom still produces the same beloved flavors that his father did for the very popular jelly citrus candies, but has also enjoyed creating new flavors. A few additions have been the Fuzzy Navel, Margarita, Sunset Jelly, and [of course] Florida Hurricane. The store encourages visitors to try the plethora of flavors by offering free samples. Since this is my hubby’s favorite candy, I can assure you he has tried every single flavor. Even so, he usually sticks to the more traditional flavors like Orange, Key Lime, Orange-Pineapple, Cherry, Blueberry, and Grapefruit. The citrus candy is available for purchase in various size packages, but hubby buys 10-12 of the small bags so he can mix and match all of his favorites.
While they do advertise a tour of the candy factory, it isn’t much of a tour — only glass windows to peer into the operations from the gift shop. But, the real attraction here is the fresh fruit, jams, and citrus candy. As you can see from the photo above, the Florida citrus candies are made by hand, one small batch at a time. And, (very important to me), I’m always impressed with the cleanliness of this facility. I guarantee once you try Davidson’s citrus candies, you will never go back to buying those mass-produced artificially flavored cheap imitations sold in drugstores around the country. (Prior to discovering Davidson’s that’s where hubby used to get his!) There’s no comparison… plus, you’re getting a healthy dose of vitamin C in every bite!
Davidson’s Creamy Coconut Spread — It’s Not Just For Toast!
Davidson of Dundee also has a wide variety of homemade jams, jellies, marmalades, and spreads. Hubby loves anything coconut, so the Creamy Coconut Spread certainly caught his eye. Not only is it great on toast but you can get a little creative with this product. For example, it makes a delicious and super easy icing on chocolate cupcakes, or use it to fill the hollow center of chocolate thumbprint cookies! Think outside the box… spread a bit of this coconuty-goodness on some good quality dark chocolate and be prepared for it to melt in your mouth. Or, try stuffing a fresh date with Creamy Coconut Spread. Simply yummy. I bet you’ve come up with a few suggestions of your own just now…
Davidson’s Choc-o-gator — The Perfect Florida Souvenir
One of the most popular gift items and souvenirs is Davidson’s chocolate candy in the shape of an alligator. After all, alligators are synonymous with the Sunshine State. Take a few of these back home for your jealous friends that couldn’t come to Florida with you. But be warned… chocolate melts very quickly in the Florida heat, especially when kept in a hot vehicle. While the chocolate gator will not spoil in hot weather, it will become a discolored and unrecognizable thingamabob! If you’re driving, I’d suggest keeping the chocolate alligators in a small cooler or some sort of reusable cold pack.
A Sweet Treat From Florida
Eat your way through Florida — literally! Another one of Davidson’s best-selling candy items is this assortment of citrus delicacies in a basket shaped like a Florida map. It includes pecan log slices (another of hubby’s favorites!), pecan orangettes, and your choice of a solid chocolate (or white chocolate) alligator. Florida souvenirs don’t have to be boring or typical anymore!
Bag Your Own Citrus Fruit at Davidson of Dundee
Another popular draw to Davidson’s is the ability to bag your own fruit. They are flat out fresh from the citrus groves and put in large bins like the one in my photo above. Sometimes they’re not the prettiest looking — there’s no waxing or shining of the citrus peels like in the traditional grocery stores — but the sweet just-picked taste more than makes up for their blemishes and outward appearance. The bags are sold in various sizes, and once you make your selections, you can choose to take them with you or have them shipped (additional fees apply) to addresses within the United States and Canada. The latter is extremely popular during the holidays.
I can remember living up north and receiving shipments of Indian River citrus in the middle of winter. There was no better antidote for the wintertime blues than some fresh Florida citrus showing up at my front door! We would always order a mixture of the “fab 4” — Tangelos, Navel Oranges, Ruby Red Grapefruit, and White Grapefruit, all of which are available (seasonally) at Davidson of Dundee.
Pick Up Some Florida-themed Gifts At Davidson’s
Although the main attraction at Davidson of Dundee is the fresh fruit, citrus candies, jams and jellies, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the assortment of Florida-themed gifts available in the retail store. In the photo above, my best friend from Pennsylvania is agonizing over which floppy hat to buy. She also purchased a tiny little bottle of Orange Blossom Perfume which made a great long-lasting Florida souvenir for her. Most of the gift products are not actually made in Davidson’s, but many are manufactured right here in Florida, like the Orange Blossom Perfume.
I was also introduced to Citrus Magic at Davidson of Dundee. This amazing product is not simply an air freshener but the best all-natural odor eliminating product I have found. In other words, it doesn’t simply cover up that “fishy” smell in your kitchen, it eliminates it. It works so well because it’s made with organic citrus oil, specifically oils from citrus peels.
***TIP: If you’re interested in trying Citrus Magic I highly recommend purchasing it through an online outlet like Amazon. After my first purchase at Davidson’s I found it much cheaper online.
Davidson of Dundee — An Old-Florida Landmark!
In all honesty, Davidson’s is not the type of Florida Attraction I would go too far out of my way to visit. However, don’t pass this place up if you’re on your way to popular destinations like Legoland, Bok Tower and Gardens, antique shopping at The Barn in Lake Alfred, and points south of Orlando. It’s a great piece of Old Florida history if you happen to be “passing through!” (Note: The parking lot is large enough to accommodate buses and RV’s.) And… even if you’re a million miles away from this little Central Florida town called Dundee, many of the goodies I mentioned in this article are available through the Davidson of Dundee website!
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Have you been to Davidson of Dundee? Or perhaps you have a favorite old-Florida landmark you’d like to share with our readers. Please reply in the “comment” box below!