Candies We Miss: The Chocolate Sandwich
Imagine handing over your nickel for “two flat cakes of delicious eating chocolate which can be eaten straight or between two slices of buttered bread in the form of a sandwich.” Children’s lunch boxes would certainly be cheerier. And moms needn’t worry. A century ago, ideas about chocolate were a little less puritan than they are today. The manufacturer assured potential customers: “Consumers eat it for a food as well as for a confection, for it really has more food value than any solid chocolate for sale today.”
Well, we know better today about food value and such. But the current American equation of candy-eating with sin seems to imbue such treats as chocolate sandwiches with a demonic power well in excess of fats and sugars.
The Europeans approach the matter of chocolate sandwiches in an entirely different spirit. What we in the U.S. call “chocolate croissant” is in France “pain au chocolat,” chocolate bread, good for breakfast or afternoon snack for any petit enfant. Bakeries in France sell little chocolate bars. For les grands enfants, these come in very handy if you happen to be stumbling home around 4 am from a night at the clubs, and need a little snacky something. The boulangeries will be open at that hour, with hot bread, fresh from the oven, easy to pair with a melting piece of chocolate sandwiched inside. Italian mamas offer bread and chocolate to the bambinis for breakfast. And then there is Nutella, chocolate-hazelnut spread which is perfectly respectable any time of day, for toast, crepes, gaufres, or just out of the jar with a spoon.
Of course, the bar was not for kiddies: it was, after all “SportsMAN’s.” The bar continued to be sold after WWI, but now the emphsis was on the manly man-ness of the candy: “If you desire a change from Mild-Sweet Milk Chocolate, Try a Sportsman’s Chocolate-Bracer. A Man’s Chocolate.” (1922)
If you are looking for chocolate sandwiches here in the U.S., though, you’ll have to set your time machines for 1916: New York City, Knickerbocker Chocolate Company. Alas, a company, and a spirit of enjoyment, long gone.
Source: Advertisements for “Sportsman’s Chocolate Bracer” appeared regularly in the nineteen-teens and twenties in Confectioner International, a New York based candy trade magazine.