If you have ever eaten a chocolate that’s shaped and wrapped in foil to resemble a ladybug, football, sneaker, coin, pansy, turkey, Christmas present, miniature Santa, poker chip, or globe, it’s a good chance it came from the Madelaine Chocolate Company.
Since 1949 when brothers-in-law Henry Kaye and Jack Gold founded the chocolate company in a compact loft in New York City, it has specialized in foil-wrapped chocolates—particularly seasonal items like Easter eggs and miniature Santas.
Earlier this week, I had a chance to chat with Henry Kaye’s granddaughter, Estee Farber, who entered the family business seven years ago and is now the company’s marketing director.
For the record, it took no arm twisting for Estee to come to work in the family chocolate factory, which is now located in Rockaway Beach, NY. “I think I always knew I would like to work in the business,” she says. (Um, hello, Willy Wonka dream come true.)
Now here’s an interesting fact that I really should put in a sidebar, but I’m plunking it right here instead: The Madelaine Chocolate Company is named after Madeleine Carroll, a beautiful British actress who starred in a few Alfred Hitchcock movies. According to Estee, her grandfather had a crush on Miss Carroll back in the day. He and his brother-in-law also thought her first name had a nice ring to it, so they made it the company name with a slightly different spelling, Madelaine vs. Madeleine. (I wonder if the starlet ever knew she had a chocolate company named after her?)
At any rate, The Madelaine Chocolate Company got its start with tiny foiled chocolate eggs made with Peter’s Chocolate. Madelaine’s still uses Peter’s Chocolate, a brand now owned by Cargill, Incorporated.
The beautiful foils used to wrap the chocolates were originally found in Italy and still come from Italy. (Look directly below at photo of Madelaine’s assembly line workers back in the 1950s looking awfully lovingly at bunnies about to get “foiled.”)
According to Estee, the company’s most popular “everyday” items coming off the line today are celebratory chocolate cigars in gold, pink, and blue foils. (My husband, proud as a little peacock, gave these out when our two kids were born.) In the Christmas category, Estee says the foiled miniatures (Santas, presents, balls, and snowmen) are perennial favorites. The minis also happen to be the company’s best-selling items overall.
This Easter, the company is rolling out new Dueggs, which are egg-shaped, double-filled milk chocolate truffles. (One of the Dueggs truffle varieties is half filled with marshmallow, the other half caramel. Double yum!)
The Dueggs are a spin-off of Madelaine’s Duets double-filled truffles, which launched in March 2010 and won the NCSA’s best new product award.
Estee says her family’s chocolate company is also working on expanding its seasonal line of Duets for Holiday 2012 with new flavor combinations and holiday-themed packaging. (Just in case Estee is reading this, I vote for a peppermint-milk truffle flavor combination.)
Below is a snapshot of some really cool items from the Madelaine Chocolate Company’s Holiday 2010 Collection: (Click on each image for more product information. Click here for all Madelaine products available at Candy.com.)