Mushroom chocolate bars
A chocolate bar (Commonwealth English) or candy bar (some dialects of American English) is a confection containing chocolate, which may also contain layerings or mixtures that include nuts, fruit, caramel, nougat, and wafers. A wide variety of chocolate bar brands are sold. A popular example is a Snickers bar, which consists of nougat mixed with caramel and peanuts, covered in milk chocolate.
The first solid chocolate bar put into production was made by J. S. Fry & Sons of Bristol, England in 1847. Cadbury began producing one in 1849. A filled chocolate bar, Fry’s Chocolate Cream, was released in 1866. In 1912, the Goo Goo Cluster was the first mass-produced combination bar; it included marshmallow, nougat, caramel, and roasted peanuts. In some varieties of English and food labeling standards, the term chocolate bar is reserved for bars of solid chocolate, with candy bar used for products with additional ingredients.
Up to and including the 19th century, confectionery of all sorts was typically sold in small pieces to be bagged and bought by weight. The introduction of chocolate as something that could be eaten as is, rather than used to make beverages or desserts, resulted in the earliest bar forms, or tablets. At some point, chocolates came to mean any chocolate-covered sweets, whether nuts, creams (fondant), caramel candies, or others. The chocolate bar evolved from all of these in the late-19th century as a way of packaging and selling candy more conveniently for both buyer and seller; however, the buyer had to pay for the packaging. It was considerably cheaper to buy candy loose, or in bulk.
The production of chocolate specifically meant to be eaten in bars may predate the French Revolution. The Marquis de Sade wrote to his wife in a letter dated May 16, 1779, complaining about the quality of a care package he had received while in prison. Among the requests that he made for future deliveries were for cookies that “must smell of chocolate, as if one were biting into a chocolate bar.” This phrasing is highly suggestive of chocolate bars being eaten by themselves and not just grated into chocolate-based drinks, as was a far more common use at this time. Such a product would predate the invention of the cocoa press by Coenraad Johannes van Houten and other innovations which made chocolate suitable for mass-production.[
Milk chocolate was invented in Switzerland by Daniel Peter and Henri Nestlé in 1875. Rodolphe Lindt, a Swiss confectioner and inventor, began adding cocoa butter as an ingredient in 1879. The addition of cocoa butter allowed the chocolate bar to keep its shape and melt in the mouth.
In 1897, following the lead of Swiss companies, Cadbury introduced its own line of milk chocolate bars in the UK. Cadbury Dairy Milk, first produced in 1905, became the company’s best selling bar.
In the United States, immigrants who arrived with candy-making skills drove the development of new chocolate bars. Milton S. Hershey, a Pennsylvania caramel maker, saw a German-manufactured chocolate-making machine at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. He immediately ordered one for his Lancaster factory and produced the first American-made milk chocolate bar.
In Canada, Ganong Bros., Ltd. of St. Stephen, New Brunswick developed and began selling their version of the modern chocolate bar in 1910.
Chocolate bar sales grew rapidly in the early-20th century. During World War I, the U.S. Army commissioned a number of American chocolate makers to produce 40 pound blocks of chocolate. These were shipped to Army quartermaster bases and distributed to the troops stationed throughout Europe. When the soldiers returned home, their demand for chocolate contributed to the increasing popularity of the chocolate bar.