Cocoa in the USA
Cocoa in the USA

Flavors of the USA

All About Chocolate > Cocoa in the United States

 The United States is famous for its

  • chocolate bars
  • chocolate chip cookies

The Master Chocolatiers

  • Baker 1765
  • Ghirardelli 1852
  • Hershey 1862
  • Mars 1923

Long relegated to apothecary shelves as a tonic, chocolate reconnected with its European heritage in 1765 when Dr. James Baker established his first chocolate refinery in Massachusetts.

Milton Hershey, the Henry Ford of chocolate
Milton Hershey founded his first company in 1894, selling cocoa powder, cooking chocolate and chocolate bars. He earned the nickname "the Henry Ford of chocolate," since like Ford he was the first to mass produce his product and offer it at a competitive price which everyone could afford.

Hershey was born in Pennsylvania, a distant descendant of 18th century Swiss and German immigrants. His father Henry took him out of school after the fourth grade to send him to work in a print shop. Having no aptitude for the trade, Hershey hired himself out to a candy maker and in 1876, at the age of 18, he opened his first candy shop. He apprenticed with a caramel maker and learned the advantages of adding fresh milk to the confection. Fascinated by the German equipment he saw at the Chicago World's Fair, he invested and began covering his caramels in chocolate. In 1894, the Hershey Chocolate Company was founded in Derry Church, his home town, where he knew there was a sufficient milk supply to back his plans for large-scale production.

Hershey created the famous chocolate bar that American GIs would later carry in their haversacks during the Second World War. His little silver-wrapped chocolate drops are still represented by the slogan "Hershey's kisses are delicious."

Frank Mars, a Chicago chocolate maker, launched the Milky Way bar in 1923, setting him on the path to starry success. 

Incorporated in 1852, Ghirardelli has the richest heritage of any American chocolate company
Domenico Ghirardelli is born in Rapallo, Italy in 1817. He moves to Genoa as a boy to become an apprentice confectioner and in 1837, sails to South America and later to California. After forming his confectionery company called Ghirardelli & Ghirard, he makes an important observation - by hanging a bag of chocolate in a warm room, the cocoa butter drips out, leaving a residue that can be processed into ground chocolate. This technique, called the Broma process, is now generally used in the manufacture of chocolate.

Today, Ghirardelli is one of the few companies in America that controls the entire chocolate manufacturing process, from cocoa bean to finished product.

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