Just like Grandad used to make . . .
Resurrecting an iconic Kiwi chocolate company after more than 20 years' closure is no mean feat. How do you get the chocolates to taste the same?
You chase down the retired factory manager and as many employees and customers of Queen Anne Chocolates as possible.
That's what Sarah Adams, grand-daughter of Ernest Adams, founder of the eponymous baked goods company, and Queen Anne chocolatier, did in the late 1990s.
In its 1960s heyday, there were about 100 Queen Anne shops around the country. The brand, still strong in the minds of older Kiwis, closed in 1976.
Sarah Adams left the Ernest Adams business soon after the family link was broken in 1996. While researching her grandfather for an article she found a lot of nostalgia for Queen Anne nougat and other treats among the people she interviewed.
She also met the former manager of the Wellington chocolate factory, the late Vic Kent. Kent helped explain the process and ate many chocolates while Adams tried to perfect the recipes to make them taste just like they used to.
"He was the one who knew everything, and his memory was amazing," she said.
Former employees from around the country gave her bits of information that she managed to piece together to restore the chocolate recipes, she said.
Adams managed to fulfil her long-standing goal to move production of the chocolates from Auckland to Christchurch.
She had barely started setting up the factory in Sockburn when the September 2010 quake hit. The first batches started coming off line a few weeks before the February 22 quake. The old factory building housing was undamaged and it has kept up production.
The company employs five staff, she said.
"We're small enough to do special things and there's still a lot of handwork, but we're big enough to make chocolates for New Zealand and the world."
- © Fairfax NZ News