What’s better than chocolate? Chocolate that’s wrapped in history that comes with a great story. Such are the boxes of chocolate produced by Busy Bee Candies, a St. Louis candy company founded in 1881 by Walter, Gilbert and William Candy. Yep, that’s right, the Candy Boys.
The brothers Candy grew one of the most popular brands of candy in the Midwest, whose tag line proclaimed, “No Candies Like Busy Bee Candies.” While the Candys sold their interest in Busy Bee in 1935, the company continued until 1959.
During the early 20th century, Hugh Campbell, the son of millionaire fur trader businessman Robert Campbell whose Gilded Age mansion is now preserved as a museum in St. Louis, was Busy Bee’s biggest customer. Campbell would spend more than $1,500 each year on candy at a time when chocolate cost 40 cents a pound. Throughout the year and during the holidays, he would treat friends to five pound boxes. Campbell also donated candy to charities and poor children like those housed at Father Dunne’s Newsboys Home.
Campbell House Museum has partnered with Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate to recreate the historic brand that features chocolates popular in the early 20th century’s Gilded Age. The eight-piece box holds milk and dark chocolate such as cherry cordials, peanut butter swirls and salt caramels – a favorite today in the 21st century. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sales of Busy Bee candy supports the Campbell House Museum and its food history preservation programs. To savor the Campbell’s sweet past and to order your Busy Bee Candy click on www.campbellhousemuseum.org — Suzanne Corbett, RFT Food History Editor
Editor’s Note: See RFT History Editor Suzanne Corbett’s story about Campbell House Museum here.