I hope everyone had a happy holiday season this year. We are back at home now, unpacking and winding down from visiting family. I was thinking of what to write about for this Monday history post and chocolate covered cherries immediately came to mind. Chocolate covered cherries have been a consistent gift at my family's Christmas celebration as far back as I can remember. We always wrap them for Dad. Then, he would open them, eat the first one and then pass them around the room for everyone else to enjoy. I can't say they are a favorite of mine, but I do enjoy all types of candy, so I'll usually end up eating a few.
I've had some time in the last few days to research a little bit about chocolate covered cherries. I can find 3 brands being sold at almost every store: Cella's, Brach's and Queen Anne. Cella's seems to be the oldest brand. Their boxes and webpage claim they started making chocolate covered cherries in 1864, with large scale production beginning in 1929. I could not find much information about the New York based Cella's Confections prior to their purchase by Tootsie Roll Industries in 1985. These chocolate covered cherries are easily recognizable because they are packaged in a single layer box, rather than a double layer like the other two brands. Cella's are also individually wrapped, rather than packaged egg-crate style with a single piece of cellophane over the plastic tray.
In the 1930's the Brock Candy Company started making chocolate covered cherries. They were an instant holiday hit across the United States. In 1994, the E. J. Brach Corporation bought a majority stake in the Brock Candy Company. I do not remember seeing Brock brand chocolate covered cherries, but the Brach's brand cherries have always been a favorite of my family. I had thought they quit producing these cherries in 2003 but they seem to have brought them back as this was the first year I've seen that brand for sale in our local stores. There's a lot of good information on the Brock Candy Company here, here and here. They were the first company to put candy in cellophane bags, which is an interesting bit of candy trivia.
In our area of the country, the most well known brand of chocolate covered cherries are made by Queen Anne. This is a company founded in 1921 on the south side of Chicago. They started making chocolate covered cherries in 1948. As their website points out, this quickly became their most successful product and they sell over three hundred million chocolate covered cherries in the United States each year. The Queen Anne company has changed hands a few times over the years, but has been owned by World's Finest Chocolate since 2006.
I do have these 3 brands of chocolate covered cherries purchased and will be doing a review very soon. I read that there are 5 large brands of chocolate covered cherry makers in the United States but I couldn't find the other 2 brands. If someone knows about the other two and could leave a comment below, that would be great!1952 photo of the Brock Candy Company in Chattanooga. Here chocolate covered cherries receive the bottom coat of chocolate.