Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

May 26, 2009

RANDOM THOUGHTS: Chocolate has made its mark in Tennessee

Chocolate lovers have been in the United States for a long time. Proof of that was found in Chaco Canyon, NM which dates back to 1,000 years. Finding this evidence was the first to verify the sweet stuff was in use north of Mexico.

Chocolate made its mark in Tennessee at the turn of the century. In 1901 the Standard Candy Company was founded by Howell Campbell in Nashville. A variety of candies were made there but in 1912 Howell became the first confectioner to combine a number of ingredients into one candy bar. He used milk chocolate, peanuts, caramel and marshmallow and the Goo Goo Cluster was born and flourished.

There are several versions of why it became known by that name. One is that it is the sound a happy baby makes and the other is that it was a popular item sold at the Grand Ole Opry.

In 1902 The Chattanooga Bakery began business headed by owner Sam Campbell, Jr. and his wife Harriet. If there was a family relationship between Howell and Sam there is no mention in any of the histories. Today the third generation Sam Campbell IV is the chief executive of the company.

Moon Pies made their appearance in 1917. The story of their creation began with finding something new that would attract customers. Salesmen were asked to question their clients as they traveled around and one found the answer from a group of Kentucky coal miners. He asked what they would like in their lunch box for a snack and one answered, “Something as big as the moon.” The salesman had noticed graham crackers with a marshmallow placed in the sun to melt and with that beginning Moon Pies became a Tennessee tradition.

Two long producing Tennessee companies well known by anyone with a sweet tooth brought a question to mind. Is one creation more popular than the other?

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