Nothing says love like a box of delectable chocolates. And selling love is how Ganong, famous for its century-old Delecto brand, became one of the world’s leading candy-makers. At one time, this family-owned business produced 1100 different kinds of chocolates and confections. Ganong: A Sweet History of Chocolate is an illustrated history of the family and its business, from its humble beginnings in St. Stephen, New Brunswick to its current niche in a world dominated by super-sized conglomerates. In 1873, James and Gilbert Ganong opened a grocery store; they soon discovered that candy would sell and set about finding true artisans who would invent some of Ganong’s trademark sweets. They did, indeed, discover a "lozenge man," a hard-candy specialist, a "gum and jelly" man who was also adept at mixing chocolate, and a "sugar-boiler." Ganong was on its way. In a hundred and thirty-three years, the company has amassed an impressive list of firsts: it concocted the first All-day Sucker, the five-cent chocolate nut bar, and that Maritime Christmas favourite -- the Chicken Bone. Ganong was one of the first companies to sell boxed chocolates, and it was the first company in Canada to use the heart-shaped chocolate box, first for Christmas and later for Valentine’s Day. As this lusciously illustrated book reveals, Ganong pioneered not just the art of making candy but also the art of selling it. The company’s colourful streetcar posters were "rich in Edwardian idealism. The women were lovely, the men were handsome." Its trading cards, its newspaper ads, and the actual chocolate boxes were true reflections of the times and today are treasures in themselves. Along with the colour reproductions of many of Ganong’s packaging and marketing materials from days gone by, author David Folster has selected a rich array of archival photographs of the original Ganong factory (now a retail outlet and museum) and the many loyal employees who have contributed to the sweet success of this company. Five generations of Ganongs have worked in the factory, still located in St. Stephen, and the Ganong family continues to run the company today. Their name represents more than a commercial brand or a delicious candy. According to Folster, Ganong is emblematic of Canada itself. And they make fine chocolate, too.
About the Author
David Folster is a journalist, social historian, and heritage and conservation activist. He has written for a wide assortment of magazines and newspapers including the Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, Sports Illustrated, Canadian Geographic, and the Christian Science Monitor. He has also been a frequent contributor to CBC Radio and Television programs. He is the author of The Great Trees of New Brunswick and The Chocolate Ganongs of St. Stephen, New Brunswick, a narrative history of the business that was shortlisted for the 1990 Canadian Business Book of the Year Award. Mr. Folster is fascinated by history, particularly New Brunswick history, at which he has spent "an irresponsible around of time." He believes his native province is still the "unknown province in what was once called the Unknown Country." He lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick.