Although colonial Americans enjoyed chocolate as a beverage, developments in the chocolate industry during the 1800s revolutionized the way chocolate was made and consumed. Today we find edible chocolate confections in every form and flavor imaginable, and many of these fill the shelves of Captain Jackson’s Historic Chocolate Shop.
One of the major developments in chocolate making during the 1800s was the creation of the first milk chocolate. Milk chocolate could be used to produce a smooth candy bar with a less bitter flavor, which was perfect for eating right out of the wrapper. This creamy chocolate was first created in 1875 by a Swiss chocolate maker named Daniel Peter.
Daniel Peter began his career as a candle maker, but as the rise of the oil lamp significantly reduced demand for candles, he began to search for a more profitable product to make in his factory. The answer came to him as he fell in love with a woman named Fanny, who was the daughter of a chocolatier. Once they were married, Peter decided to begin making chocolate.
Embarking on his new career as a chocolate maker and looking for a way to stand out in a competitive market, he attempted to mix milk into chocolate. He quickly found that the high water content of milk and the high oil content of chocolate made the two ingredients nearly impossible to blend and resulted in a mixture that went rancid very quickly. The answer to this problem was discovered through the aid of a helpful neighbor named Henri Nestlé.
When the Peters’ first daughter, Rose, had difficulty nursing, Nestlé suggested the family try feeding her a condensed milk formula that he had developed several years earlier. This experience inspired Peter to mix Nestlé’s evaporated milk into chocolate. The lower water content of the evaporated milk allowed it to be successfully blended into chocolate, and the first milk chocolate was produced.
In 1901 Peter’s chocolates were first sold in America, where milk chocolate continues to be a favorite today.