The Chocolate Éclair Story
Throughout the 1920’s, Tavener Rutledge Buttered Assortment was one of the best known confections in the country. It consisted of ‘Hand Dipping’ brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts and coconut macaroons in a crisp Buttered Toffee.
Each ‘Toffee Dipper’ had their own toffee bowl which was refilled every 40 minutes with a fresh fill of toffee. The dipper would throw the nut into the bowl with her left hand and using a spoon in her right hand, push the nut into the toffee. With incredible dexterity she would then coat the nut, removing any excess toffee by using the wire, and place the sweet on a metal ‘plaque’ where it would cool and set before being wrapped. A girl would dip about 60 kg of sweets a day. In 1931, Henry Tavener who managed the factory and was responsible for developing new products, used the same process to cover chocolate pieces in a rich creamy toffee and created ‘Chocolate Éclairs.’ This was the first time anyone had managed to cover chocolate in caramel and was the forerunner of many imitations through the years.
Such was the success of the Chocolate Éclairs, that up to 1960 there were still 100 toffee dippers employed by the Company. But the expense of carrying out the process manually soon became prohibitive and after three years of extensive trials a prototype machine was developed. The work of 100 hand dippers is now produced by a single machine.
‘Chocolate Éclairs’ are still one of the British public’s favourite confections and it all started in Liverpool.