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European-American Topics - Cuisine - Boehms chocolate

Got Milka? Or Boehms Chocolate-dipped Candies?
Profit from chocolate’s new “health halo.”

By Claire Rood
Published September 2005

You may already know it, but it is once again official: “Some chocolate is good for you.” Dr. Charalambos Viachopoulos and his colleagues from the Athens Medical School reported in the American Journal of Hypertension that high flavonoid-rich dark chocolate benefits the cardiovascular system by dilating arteries and decreasing aortic stiffness.

            The progress from a frothy spicy drink, made from the paste of fermented, roasted and ground cacao seeds in Mesoamerica, to today’s abundance of chocolate, took many centuries. Around 250 - 900 C.E. Mayans loved cacao enough to transplant their “gift of the gods,” from the rain forests and included the cacao drink in their social- religious- ceremonial life. The cacao tree seeds also served as Aztec money by the1400s, at the rate of 100 seeds for a slave. Columbus apparently failed to recognize the importance of these precious seeds, but by 1520 the Spanish conquistadors resisted to trade them for gold and brought them to Spain. Over time, cacao mixed with sugar and vanilla evolved into a most delicious drink, but remained a Spanish secret for about 300 years before spreading to Europe’s upper class.

            With the emergence of new machinery, the enterprising Swiss Suchard family was able to greatly increase production, which led to the “lila (lilac) legend” of Milka, patented in 1901 in Berlin. Although the ingenious first “lila cow” advertisement of 1973 is still effective, we are now exposed to an ambitious, ever expanding marketing strategy on radio, television, billboards and on-line games, as well as in sponsorships of high visibility sport events, such as ski-flying. The locally available Milka products are made in Austria and Germany and distributed by the Northfield, ILL branch of Kraft Foods Global Incorporated. Lila wrappings of an enormous variety of Milka products in every price range for every occasion beckon from kiosks to airport shops throughout the world.

            Regionally we have our own boutique choice - Boehms Chocolate Candies.

The amazing legacy of the Austrian/Swiss immigrant Julius Boehm (1897 -1981) lives on in every box of Chocolate Candies at the “Edelweiss Chalet” in Issaquah. Boehm, an Olympic relay runner at the 1924 Paris Olympic Games and a torch carrier to those in Berlin in1936, an avid sportsman and mountaineer, climbed Mt. Rainier no less than three times, and even higher as an entrepreneur. Soon after establishing a candy kitchen with a friend in Seattle, he moved the production of deliciously filled chocolate candies to the present location in Issaquah.   

            Today, Boehm’s “High as the Alps Quality” continues under owner/manager Bernard Gardusjuk, who oversees a staff of master candy makers to produce caramel, fudge, nuts, cherry and other fillings for about 150 different hand-dipped chocolate confections.

            Some of the ca 200,000 yearly shoppers at the confiserie are enticed to watch the process, to sample, buy and ship the popular merchandise, and to stroll through the park-like surroundings or even visit the replica of a 12th century St. Moritz Chapel by appointment. Enjoy these tasty dark chocolate treats - they are good for you (in moderation).


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