My newfound love for everything Louis Sherry chocolates came in a roundabout way: I stumbled upon an empty, modern tin box in my friend’s bathroom filled with bobby pins and other hair accessories. The shiny, red box piqued my interest, prompting me to learn more.
Louis Sherry founded the company in 1881 in New York, selling his memorable chocolate ganache-filled truffles in exquisite tins that are still sought after by collectors 136 years later – just check out eBay.
It’s no surprise; these chocolates are amazing – so rich and flavorful they can’t but help make your belly happy! They’re the perfect treat for any foodie and design aficionado, and they make a great hostess or Mother’s Day gift, a party favor for weddings, showers or birthday bashes, or a pick-me-up on a grey, gloomy day.
Tim Tippin, the approachable president of Louis Sherry, allowed me to satiate my curiosity about the company and its classic, iconic brand.
Are the original recipes being used today? If so, which flavor is the most popular?
Our recipe for making the chocolate ganache filling dates to the 1890s and has remained unchanged. The ingredients sourced to flavor the ganache have evolved with time, but some, like rum, remain exactly as they were in Sherry’s day. Pomegranate is our newest addition and is about as trendy as we get.
I’m not quite sure which flavor is the most popular as everyone seems to have their favorite. Mine is the caramel. There is a great quote in one of J.D. Salinger’s stories that said, “A box of Louis Sherry candies – half empty, and with the unconsumed candies all more or less experimentally squeezed – was open on the coffee table, in front of the couch.”
Today, we have a very elegantly illustrated chocolate map so you know exactly what what you’re “gonna get.”
Is this the oldest candy company in the USA?
While I know of two chocolate bar and baking chocolate manufacturers that have been around longer in the U.S. than Louis Sherry, I believe that we are the oldest boxed chocolate brand. According to the Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, Louis Sherry introduced the concept of chocolates as a luxury gift.
In the early days of the Industrial Revolution when chocolate was first made in mass production, the quality suffered greatly, with other manufacturers using cheap Forastero cacoa beans and substituting vegetable fats for cocoa butter. Louis Sherry then, as today, only used ingredients of the highest quality and won the patronage of such people as J.P. Morgan and the Vanderbilt family. Louis Sherry’s dedication to quality endures today. Every single truffle we craft is entirely hand made and hand packaged, and at certain times of the year, it is difficult to keep up with demand.
How many flavors exist in the Louis Sherry portfolio?
We currently produce 14 flavors but have recipes in our archive for a dozen or so more which are not in current production. Sometimes the ingredients are difficult to source in steady supply, such as Pear Armagnac, and others are just rotated in and out for variety. Our Champagne Truffle is divine and will hopefully re-appear in the box this fall. Champagne has such a subtle flavor, and the wine must be reduced down quite a bit before it is blended into the ganache. I think an entire bottle only yields 60-70 truffles, and we only use very good French champagne.
Presentation is everything, and the tins are quite lovely.
Yes, our tins are quite special and are cast from the originals moulds. Even with modern manufacturing, they are quite difficult to make and must be assembled by hand. I would like to think they have raised the bar for the entire confections industry and customers’ expectations as a whole. That is sort of what Louis Sherry has always been about. When someone receives a box of our chocolate as a gift, I hope that they feel special and that the person who gave it to them and the people that crafted it put a lot of thought into it.
I was once at a store when a young lady walked by who upon seeing our box burst into tears. She told me that seeing the tin reminded her of coloring books on her grandmother’s kitchen table, as her grandmother kept her crayons in an old Louis Sherry box. The stories go on, from using them to store love letters, to even a secret stash of cigarettes, to even a revolver.
In the film “Rosemary’s Baby,” you see Mia Farrow place the necklace the crazy neighbor gave her in a Louis Sherry box in a drawer. I recently spotted one of our tins on Bette Davis’ coffee table in FX’s series “Feud.” F. Scott Fitzgerald kept pencils in one of our boxes on his desk while writing “The Great Gatsby.” It is really a wonderful feeling to be part of a company that has been quietly in the backdrop for the last century.
I see that one can make customizable tins for a special occasion. Tell me more.
Yes, we do make custom tins and do so for some of America’s most fabled jewelry companies and hotels. For a nominal charge, (we) create custom inserts printed on stationery quality cardstock or vellum. They remain a popular gift for weddings and at the place settings of some very high-profile events. Give us a call – no request has been too large or too small for Louis Sherry.