Historic St. Louis Chocolate Brand Re-Launches in Time for the Holidays
ST. LOUIS (October 20, 2009) â€“ To anyone who lived in St. Louis prior to 1984, the name Mavrakos is likely to conjure up memories of delicious treats like heavenly hash and Pecan Burrs (turtles). Sweet memories are all they were, until nowâ€¦ Next month, the historic St. Louis chocolate brand will re-launch, bringing back a local favorite and introducing a whole new generation to the famous chocolates.
Mavrakos Candy Co. was started in 1913 by John Mavrakos, a Greek immigrant who had settled in St. Louis in 1904, bringing with him his familyâ€™s treasured candy recipes. Before long, his chocolate stores became known as the best place for St. Louisans to cure their cravings. During World War II when his son was serving in Italy, Mavrakos lobbied the U.S. Government for the exclusive rights to ship chocolate to the servicemen overseas. His chocolate shipments no doubt brought soldiers a much-needed taste of home.
During the company’s peak in the 1950′s, Mavrakos had over 16 retail stores in the St. Louis metro area, a popular catalog and a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. In 1959, John Mavrakos won the Candy Industry Copper Kettle award, which is considered the “highest recognition an individual working within the U.S. confectionery industry can attain” according to Candy Industry Magazine. The Greek chocolatier was respected for his leadership and inspired the world of chocolate as we know of it today.
Much to the dismay of chocolate lovers, the company was sold in 1984 to Archibald Candy and the brand was retired. The secret Mavrakos family recipes, however, were passed to Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company owner Dan Abel, who grew up just down the street in Clayton from Mavrakosâ€™ last owner, Tom Wotka. Abel studied these recipes though the years and reinvented a few for his Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company product line.
On October 20, 2009, Abel and his family will officially re-launch the legendary Mavrakos brand, bringing back the most popular chocolates including: Golden Butter Caramels, Chocolate Caramels, Raspberry Caramels, â€˜real fruitâ€™ Bon Bon Creams, Pecan Burrsâ„¢, Coconut Crescents, Heavenly Hash (now called Marshmallow Pecan Bar), the Rosebud Assortment and a Signature Milk Chocolate â€œMâ€. All follow the original Mavrakos recipes and some are even made on the original equipment, acquired by Abel when the company was sold.
The new Mavrakos will be managed by Abelâ€™s children, second generation chocolatiers, Dan Abel Junior and Christina Abel. Like the father-son Mavrakos team, the younger Abels have grown up in the business.
â€œWhile I am too young to truly remember Mavrakos, I know how much St. Louisans loved it,â€ commented Abel. â€œIt is a lot of fun for my family to be able to bring back a St. Louis classic
As Abel and his team have worked to fine-tune production and develop new packaging, they have also reconnected with past employees, customers and even some Mavrakos family members, who have given the re-launch their blessing. â€œThere are so many Mavrakos stories out thereâ€¦we canâ€™t wait to share those memories and build a whole new generation of Mavrakos fans,â€ said Abel.
Mayor Slay and the City of St. Louis have proclaimed October 20, 2009 â€œMavrakos Dayâ€ in St. Louis. Beginning the following morning, Mavrakos chocolates will be available at all local Dierbergâ€™s locations, all nine Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company stores and online at www.mavrakos.com.