I was recently introduced to Chase Candy’s Cherry Mash Candy while technicians were trying to replace a warning sensor on my flight. At 100 years in 2018, it is our nation’s third oldest ‘candy bar’ – if you can really call it that – to the Hershey Chocolate Bar, and its close cousin, Nashville’s Goo Goo Cluster. The company plans a year’s worth of celebrations honoring is centurian status.
The Cherry Mash Candy comes from the brilliant mind of Ernst Chase, the son of company founder, George Washington Chase. It’s a cherry fondant or nougat filled center made with real egg frappe (for better mouth feel) and real pieces of maraschino cherries, covered in a mound of chocolate and crushed peanuts. It’s more of a mound or cluster than a candy bar, like the Goo Goo. Ernst’s father, George Washington Chase, was a doctor turned candy maker, who founded Chase Candy Company in 1876 in St. Joseph, Missouri, where the Cherry Mash, and its sibling the mini mash, are still made in a factory that’s so secret it doesn’t allow plant tours.
Wild cherry flavor has been used in the confection since the 1930s, while the custom milk-chocolate coating has been made for at least 60 years by Blommer in Chicago. Blommer uses cocoa butter rather than vegetable oil. Peanuts, roasted and ground on site, are typically incorporated within 24 to 48 hours of roasting. Over 15 tons of maraschino cherries, 200,000 pounds of peanuts and 200,000 pounds of chocolate coating go annually into the production of Cherry Mash.
The Chase Candy Cop mascot was prominently featured on the wrappers of the many candy bars the company had from the ate 1920s to the 1930s- Mallo Milk, the Nutrol, Black Walnut, Malted Milk, Chase Nut Bar and Candy Dogs.
Chase was family owned until 1944, when the F. S. Yantis company, out of Chicago, which still owns them today, bought. And here’s where the Cincinnati connection comes in, in 1946, Chases (owned by Yantis) purchased the National Candy Company, originally owned by Vincent Price Sr. (father of actor Vincent Price) which was headquartered in St. Louis. Our local Peter Eckert Company, joined the league of 12 companies in 1896 which formed the National Candy Company. Roscoe Rodda, the man whose company created the marshmallow peep was a former owner of the Eckert Company before they sold out to National Candy.