My deep investigations into the origins and ethos of Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews apparently haven’t exhausted the “Jews and chocolate” genre. Rabbi Deborah Prinz has written On the Chocolate Trail, subtitled “A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao.” She also blogs about chocolate.
jWeekly.com has a profile:
The heart of the book is the history of Jewish involvement in chocolate. The tale begins with Jewish merchants and traders introducing cocoa to Spain and, after the Inquisition, to the rest of Europe. Cities such as Amsterdam; Bayonne, France; and Turin, Italy became chocolate manufacturing centers, with Jews often in the forefront.
“There were points at which Jews had opportunities and took advantage of them,” Prinz says. “Being on the cutting edge and part of a new trade is certainly not surprising for Jews.”
Jewish chocolatiers made their way to England, opening the first chocolate and coffee house in Oxford, as well as to America. Colonial-era Jews introduced chocolate, a tradition that continued to recent times with the founders of Bartons, Koppers and other brands.