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The History Of Neapolitan Chocolates

WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF THE TERM ‘NEAPOLITAN CHOCOLATES’?

The name ‘Neapolitan Chocolates‘ is used to describe individually wrapped square pieces of chocolate, often produced in various flavours (such as milk, plain, mint, mint crisp and orange) and sold individually or in boxes of assorted flavours.

The Neapolitan packaging may be personalised for promotional purposes for businesses and organisations of all types, from restaurants, hotels, cafes, pubs, trains, cruise ships to FMCGs, retailers, hairdressers and professional services to distributors, advertising agencies and merchandising companies to charities, schools, colleges and universities.

Delvaux has been supplying personalised Neapolitan Chocolates to 1000s of businesses, associations and organisations for over 20 years, since 1995.

Originally, from 1985, Delvaux imported Belgian chocolate pralines into the UK from the world renowned Chocolatier Bruyerre, as the perfect accompaniment to the popular Rombouts one-cup coffee filter.

Later the range grew to include luxury chocolates, glace fruits, nougats and nuts, supplied to selected retailers including the House of Fraser Food Halls, Conran and Harvey Nichols and, from 1991, personalised Petit Chocolates (mini-chocolate bars) sealed in colourful flow-wrappers.

Now Delvaux specialises in producing and supplying personalised promotional Neapolitan Chocolates, mini-chocolate bars and sweets (including Flat Imperial Mints, Fruit Sweets, Chocolate-coated Salted Caramel Fudge, Jelly Beans, Mint Humbugs, Chewy Fruits, Chocolate-Coated Coffee Beans, Chewy Mints and Chocolate-coated Dates).

However the use of the phrase ‘Neapolitans‘ for chocolates can be traced back to the 19th century, with Terry’s of York, England, first producing Neapolitans in 1899 in the Terry’s factory which made York the UK’s chocolate capital.

According to Wikipedia, Terry’s Neapolitans were available in a range of flavours, each with a particular colour wrapper, including:

  • Milk Chocolate (Blue)
  • Plain Chocolate (Red)
  • Mocha (coffee flavoured plain chocolate) (Brown)
  • Cafe Au Lait (coffee flavoured milk chocolate) (Turquoise)
  • Orange Milk Chocolate (Orange)
  • Orange Plain Chocolate (Pink)

Terry’s also produced a selection of mint-flavoured Neapolitans and cream-filled Neapolitans. They would occasionally be sold in alternative packaging such as jars.

Sadly York’s iconic Terry’s chocolate factory closed its doors in 2005, after nearly 80 years of producing its famous Neapolitans, Chocolate Oranges, All Gold chocolates and other sweet treats.

However various retailers continue to sell boxed mixed assortments of Neapolitan Chocolates to consumers today, including Marks and Spencer’s Neapolitans and Lindt’s Napolitains, and Delvaux is thriving as a specialist supplier of personalised promotional chocolates for thanking and gifting customers, for promoting branding, special offers, websites and social media etc.

Delvaux’s square Neapolitan wrapper can be printed with full colour designs making maximum use of the wrap-around packaging, providing the perfect opportunity to produce memorable branding, messaging, QR codes etc which people will read as they open and enjoy their chocolate.

Delvaux also offers the option for single and double colour hot-foil luxury printing on the Neapolitan packaging, providing an ’embossed’ effect on the wrappers.

OTHER USES OF THE ‘NEAPOLITAN’ NAME…

Neapolitan Ice Cream

The term ‘Neapolitan’ is also used for a style and flavour of ice cream normally made up of three separate blocks of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream arranged side by side in the same container, typically with no packaging in between.

According to Wikipedia, “Neapolitan ice cream (also referred to as ‘Harlequin’ ice cream) was named in the late 19th century as a reflection of its presumed origins in the cuisine of the Italian city of Naples, and the many Neapolitan immigrants who brought their expertise in frozen desserts with them to the United States”.

Neapolitan was the first type of ice cream to combine three flavours and the first recorded recipe was created by the head chef of the royal Prussian household Louis Ferdinand Jungius in 1839.

Neapolitan-style ice cream would usually comprise a combination of three flavours moulded together to resemble the Italian flag (cf. insalata tricolore) but early recipes used a variety of different flavours. Over time chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry became the standard flavours, probably because they were the most popular favours.

Quotes from food historians:

Jenifer Harvey Lang, in ‘Larousse Gastronomique’: “Cosmopolitan slice. A slice of ice-cream cake made with mousse mixture and ordinary ice cream, presented in a small pleated paper case. Neapolitan ice cream consists of three layers, each of a different colour and flavour (chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla), moulded into a block and cut into slices. Neapolitan ice-cream makers were famous in Paris at the beginning of the 19th century, especially Tortoni, creator of numerous ice-cream cakes.”

John F. Mariani, in ‘The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink’: “Eighteenth century… confectioners’ shops [were] very often run by Italians. Consequently ice creams were often called ‘Italian ice creams’ or ‘Neapolitan ice creams’ throughout the nineteenth century, and the purveying of such confections became associated with Italian immigrants.”

Stuart Berg Flexner, in ‘I Hear America Talking’: “Neapolitan ice cream, different flavoured layers frozen together….[was] being first being talked about in the 1870s.”

A cultural reference from The New York Times in 1887: “…in a dress of pink and white stripes, strongly resembling Neapolitan ice cream.”

Neapolitan Cake

In Australia there is a popular cake known as ‘Neapolitan’ cake or marble cake, made with the same three colours of Neapolitan ice cream swirled through in a marble pattern, usually topped with pink icing.


[If you have any questions please call us on UK freephone 0800 371 428 or International telephone +44 (0) 1932 571180, alternatively please email us at hello@delvaux.co.uk.]

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