Daniel Peter, that is. It was his invention of milk chocolate that has brought us all so very much happiness.

Danny was the son of a candlemaker-turned-butcher who made his home in Switzerland. His two sons, Daniel and Julien, not wanting to be butchers, honored their father by following his original path, that of candlemaker. Candles were a necessity in their early years (around 1850) and the brothers believed their futures would be secure. However, with the introduction of the paraffin lamp, their business crumbled.

Faced with a family to support, Daniel followed his father-in-law’s path. His father-in-law just happened to be chocolate pioneer Francois-Louis Cailler! With the help of his father-in-law, Daniel opened his chocolate shop in 1867, right next door to Henri Nestle’s factory, which at that time had nothing to do with chocolates, but manufactured, of all things, infant milk food! It was at the Nestle’s shop that Daniel purchased the milk products he needed to make his chocolates.

Confounded and curious by nature, Daniel took it as his task to find out why there was such difficulty in combining condensed milk and cocoa powder into block chocolate form. With his wife and one worker to help him, he made plain chocolate to support himself by day, and devoted his spare time and nights to experimenting.

By 1875 he had begun manufacturing blocks of milk chocolate on a limited scale. It was slow going in the beginning, but eventually his new concoction caught on and export orders started to pour in.

In 1896, Daniel Peter acquired enough money to form the Peter Milk Chocolate Company – and the future of his family was secure.

In 1904, the Peter Company merged with the Swiss firm of Kohler and soon Henri Nestle entered the scene once again, acquiring the marketing rights to the “Peter,” “Kohler” and “Nestle” brand names.


unlike tea, coffee, wine and beer tasters, when chocolates are taste tested by volunteers, they are instructed NOT to spit out the samples. Instead, they are encouraged to roll the chocolate around on their tongues, press it to the roof of their mouths, and try to coat as much of the interior of their mouths as possible before swallowing every bit of it.

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Kaitlyn Murphy
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