Most people have had a craving for a candy bar at some point in their life. They’re easily accessible at work, at home, or at the supermarket. It can give you a “pick me up” for a burst of energy. If you’re hungry, it can curb your appetite until lunch or dinner. When you’re feeling down, eating one can put a smile on your face. Chocolate, the prominent ingredient, has been around for hundreds of years, but it wasn’t until the nineteenth century that it was developed into a candy bar. Here is its brief history:
1500 BC to 400 BC – The Olmec Indians of the Eastern Mexico lowlands are thought to be the first people to grow cocoa beans as a domestic crop. It took hundreds of years before cocoa became widely used as a remedy and as an aphrodisiac, and so it became known as a food from the gods. The Aztecs used cacao beans as currency and as a drink for people with high social status. Europeans were first introduced to chocolate as a beverage, and they loved it so much that a chocolate house was opened in London in 1657 where drinks were served to the upper class. Within twenty years, chocolate was found in tea cakes and other sweets. It took almost ninety years after Europe discovered chocolate before it was introduced to the United States. Dr. James Baker and John Hanan built America’s first chocolate mill, and soon after, they were making Baker’s chocolate.
- 1830- A kind of solid chocolate was developed by a British company called Joseph Fry & Sons.
- 1847- Fry’s chocolate factory molded the first chocolate bar.
- 1866- The Fry’s Chocolate Cream bar is produced for mass sale.
- 1900- Milton S. Hershey introduces the first Hershey milk chocolate bar in the United States. It sold for a nickel.
- 1920- The Baby Ruth candy bar is first sold. There is still an ongoing dialogue whether is was named after President Cleveland’s daughter or Babe Ruth.
- 1923- Mounds, a double chocolate coconut concoction, is first made.
- 1924- Milky Way is introduced.
- 1928- Heath Bar, a chocolate coated toffee is introduced.
- 1936- The 5th Avenue Bar is created.
Hundreds of candy bars have come and gone. Some popular ones are: 100 Grand Bar, Almond Joy, Charleston Chew, Chunky, Clark Bar, Goo-Goo Clusters, Marathon Bar, Milkshake, Mr. Goodbar, Nestle Crunch, Oh Henry, Powerhouse, Seven-Up Bar, Skybar, Snickers, and Three Musketeers. Most candy bars are made with chocolate, but an occasional non-chocolate one becomes a favorite, such as Payday, Zero, and Zagnut. Time will tell which ones will be favored by future generations.