Carmel Magazine

Winter 2017

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at a most impor tant time in the family's history. Cadbury had recently improved its chocolate making technique so as to extract pure cocoa butter from whole beans, producing a more palat- able drinking chocolate than most Britons had ever tasted. This process resulted in an excess amount of cocoa butter, which Cadbury used to produce many more varieties of what was then called "eating chocolate." Cadbury recognized a great marketing opportunity for the new choco- lates and started selling them in beautifully decorated boxes that he him- self designed. The sales made a quick leap as customers flocked to purchase his heart shaped boxes adorned with cupids, roses and lace. While Cadbury didn't actually patent the heart-shaped box, it's widely believed that he was the first to produce one. Cadbury marketed the boxes as having a dual purpose. When the chocolates had all been consumed, the box itself was so charming that it could be used again and again to store mementos and love letters. With the outbreak of World War II, the rationing of sugar affected the celebration of Valentine's Day, which ceased the production of chocolate confections. But Victorian-era Cadbury, Chase, Lowney's and Schrafft boxes still exist, and many are treasured family heirlooms or valuable items prized by collectors. While my love affair with collecting chocolate boxes did not begin with those luscious hunks of sweet confections, it was the joyful collaboration of waiting for my mother to finish nibbling on her Valentine's gift from my father so that I could claim those boxes to house all my precious stuff. Out from my underwear drawer came all my treasures, where they found a new home displayed in boxes of satin and lace. The romance lives on. Those frayed old paper boxes that lived their life showing off chocolates as if they were precious jewels are now cherished just for their beauty alone, reinforcing the fact that you can judge a box by its cover. Marjorie Snow is a writer and photographer with a vast knowledge of antiques and their history. Snow was the owner of Terra Cotta in Las Vegas, an exclusive architectural vintage gallery, which was featured in numerous West Coast magazines. Vintage chocolate boxes by Victorian-era candy makers such as Cadbury, Chase, Lowney's and Schrafft are a true collector's dream. The boxes were saved by their owners to store letters and other objects, and later became heirlooms. C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • W I N T E R 2 0 1 7 99

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