Chocolate Matters

Special occasions and chocolate go together like spring and puddles. I recently received some Polish, E. Wedel, chocolate from a Ukrainian student and appreciated learning a bit about the manufacturer’s war time history in Warsaw. It got me wondering about the histories of other chocolates. I found an interesting website about chocolate’s uses during the war.

Turns out it was not only good for morale, for bribes, for friendships, for energy … it was also a way to conceal lethal weapons. 

I prefer to focus on the sweet side of chocolate’s power and used it as such a couple of times in my novels. In Katherine Marsh's excellent new release, The Lost Year, which focuses on the Holodomor, her character, Mila, eats Soviet era Bumble Bear chocolates. 

Here are a few chocolate facts centered around the war.

Herschey’s was the main supplier of American chocolate during the Second World War. They created a ‘melt-proof’ chocolate for tropical battles.

Scho-ka-kola was the German brand of chocolate for the Wehrmacht. When visiting Riding Mountain National Park last summer, site of a former German POW camp, they had a rusted Scho-ka-kola tin on display.

Back in 1930s, the E. Wedel chocolate company offered its employees many benefits, including childcare. Later, splintered by war, by communism and a variety of owners, it continues to be a proud and recognizable Polish chocolate, with its motto: “…constantly changing to inspire joy in us and our clients".  

Perhaps Roschen, a chocolate factory in Kyiv, is currently supplying chocolate to Ukrainian soldiers. And would Russian soldiers be snacking on Alyonka from the Red October factory? Chocolate plays a role in war and soldiers might still be finding a brief reprieve from their hell in its bitter sweetness.

Hopefully, chocolate will also play a role in peace—which can’t come soon enough!  I’ve previously posted about the Peace by Chocolate company, formed recently in Canada by Syrian refugees. Chocolate makes the world a better taste. 

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