The New England Confectionary Company caught me by surprise when it made over its namesake Necco wafers using all-natural ingredients for color and flavor. The assorted package (89 cents) still includes chocolate, lemon, orange, clove, wintergreen, cinnamon, and licorice, but lime is missing from the mix; reportedly, the flavor could be duplicated, but not the color.
I have a fondness for old things, even for chalky, brittle wafers that taste very little like an actual lime. When I went looking for a classic pack early this year, however, my reliable candy spots were fished out — apparently, the made-over version had debuted two months earlier — and it wasn't until I dipped into the distribution stream at Walgreens that I got a nibble. In the photo above, that's a lime wafer just to the right of the Necco logo.
Meanwhile, in Cambridge, Mass.: After the candy maker moved its factory up north, in 2003, the city's best-known water tower (below) changed its color scheme from Necco to Novartis. The classic eight Necco colors (bottom), some of which once graced the water tower, are as of autumn 2011 again being produced to the original recipe.