Most of us Americans have heard of German Chocolate, particularly in the recipe of German Chocolate Cake. Some of us may have even thought to ourselves “Hmmm, I wonder what makes German Chocolate so special?”
Well, I’ve some bad news for you. But some good news first, to temper the blow – Germany does have a chocolate tradition. However, Americans’ image of German Chocolate comes from, well, America.
An Englishman by the name of Samuel German worked for Baker’s Chocolate, an American firm, and came up with a version of baking chocolate that worked quite well in pastries. The chocolate became so popular that Baker’s labeled it “German’s Chocolate”. And from there? Well, I’ll let wikipedia explain:
The original recipe for “German’s Chocolate Cake” was sent by a Dallas, Texas homemaker to a local newspaper in 1957. The cake became quite popular and General Foods — which owned the brand at the time — distributed the recipe to other newspapers in the country, and sales of Baker’s Chocolate are said to have increased by as much as 73%. The possessive form (German’s) was dropped in subsequent publications, forming the “German Chocolate Cake” identity we know today.
“But, but, Kate!”, I can hear some of you say.”The Mountains! The laderhosen! The Oomp-bah-bah bands! How can these iconic images NOT bring up chocolate in our heads?”
That’s a good question, to which I respond with this – Switzerland. Those images you mentioned above also work for the German speaking part of the Switzerland, a country, by the way, much associated with chocolate. Nestlé, Lindt, and several other well known chocolate companies come from there.
“I know, I know.”, I can hear you guys say. “We’re all familiar with Swiss Miss Instant Coco.”
Yeah, about Swiss Miss…
It was actually invented by a couple of Sicilians in Wisconsin.