In 1765, Dr. James Baker of Dorchester stumbled upon Irishman John Hannon crying on the banks of the mighty Neponset River. Hannon, though penniless, possessed the rare skills required to create chocolate, a delicacy exclusive to Europe, and Baker, with pockets bursting, wished to make a name for himself using a mill powered by the same river upon which they met, the duo built America’s oldest and most beloved manufacturer of this rich treat. Local historian Anthony Sammarco details the delicious saga of Massachusetts’s Baker Chocolate Company, from Hannon’s mysterious disappearance and the famed La Belle Chocolatiere advertising campaign to cacao bean smuggling sparked by Revolutionary War blockades. Both bitter and sweet, this tale is sure to tickle your taste buds.
ANTHONY M. SAMMARCO is a noted historian and author of over seventy books on the history and development of Boston, and he lectures widely on the history of his native city. His books Lost Boston, The History of Howard Johnson’s: How A Massachusetts Soda Fountain Became a Roadside Icon, Jordan Marsh: New England’s Largest Store, The Baker Chocolate Company: A Sweet History, and Christmas Traditions in Boston have been bestsellers and he lectures widely on popular history.