02 December 2014

Chocolate Bars Addendum

Being empathetic to those who can never get enough chocolate, I thought I’d add a few notes to last Friday’s blog post, Chocolate for Health, and highlight one chapter of the chocolate story: chocolate bars. Sites linked from my P.S. below provide much more detail than most of you would ever want.

Cacao (Theobroma cacao) is native to Mesoamerica and its consumption traces back thousands of years. In the 16th century, cacao made its way from Mexico to Spain where sugar was added and its popularity spread through Europe. Although numerous candy makers, such as the Baker Chocolate Co., founded in the U.S. in 1780, sold cocoa for drinking and chocolate in small pieces, chocolate bars didn’t appear until the mid-1850s. But by the first half of the 1900s, there were thousands of different chocolate bars being produced by large and small candy companies.

J.S. Fry & Sons produced the first chocolate bar around 1847. The company later merged with Cadbury, which was founded in 1824 and marketed tea, coffee and drinking chocolate. Cadbury is now under Kraft Foods. (Photo on multiple websites)
Daniel Peter, a Swiss manufacturer, is credited with producing the first milk chocolate bar, around 1875. Peter’s Chocolate is now owned by Cargill. (Photo from www.dicconbewes.com/2012/09/18/uncovering-the-first-milk-chocolate/)
The German chocolate company Stollwerck GmbH introduced the first vending machines in 1887. Though used initially to sell chocolate samples, they were soon selling chocolate bars from thousands of vending machines. (Photo of 1890 chocolate bar wrapper from commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stollwerck-chocolate_-_packaging_from_1890.jpg)
The Hershey Bar, produced in 1900, has been recognized as the first chocolate bar to be both affordable and good tasting. Today, The Hershey Company is North America’s largest chocolate manufacturer with a distribution to some 60 countries. (Photo of vintage wrapper from multiple websites)
The Swiss Theodor Tobler and a cousin produced the triangular-shaped Toblerone chocolate bar around 1908. The name combined Tobler with Torrone, the Italian nougat of honey, sugar, egg whites and toasted almonds or other nuts. (Photo from www.toblerone.co.uk/history/howitbegan/1900)
Ganong Brothers Ltd., founded in New Brunswick, Canada, in 1873, developed and sold what’s considered to be the modern chocolate bar in 1910--the company was the first to wrap its chocolate bar. Another innovation was selling chocolates in heart-shaped box. (Photo of Ganong storefront in Quebec, 1934, from www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/cool/002027-2002-e.html)

History lessons:
Companies cited:

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