A chocolate bar is a chocolate confection in bar form, which distinguishes it from bulk chocolate produced for commercial use or individually portioned chocolates such as pastilles, bon-bons, and truffles. In most of the English-speaking world, chocolate bar also refers to a typically snack-sized bar coated with or substantially consisting of chocolate but containing other ingredients.
A chocolate bar made exclusively from chocolate contains some or all of the following components: cocoa solids, cocoa butter, sugar, and milk. The relative presence or absence of these define the subclasses of chocolate bar made of dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate. In addition to these main ingredients a chocolate bar may contain flavorings such as vanilla and emulsifiers such as soy lecithin to alter its consistency.
A wide selection of similar chocolate treats are produced with added sources of protein and vitamins. These include forms of energy bar and granola bar and are sold as snacks and nutritional supplements.
Up to and including the 19th century, confectionery of all sorts was typically sold in small pieces to be bagged and bought by weight. The introduction of chocolate as something that could be eaten as is, rather than used to make beverages or desserts, resulted in the earliest bar forms, or tablets. At some point, chocolates came to mean any chocolate-covered sweets, whether nuts, creams (fondant), caramel candies, or others. The chocolate bar evolved from all of these in the late-19th century as a way of packaging and selling candy more conveniently for both buyer and seller; however, this "convenience" did not include price, of course, as the buyer had to pay for the packaging. It was considerably cheaper to buy candy loose, or in bulk.
In 1847, the Fry's chocolate factory, located in Union Street, Bristol, England, moulded the first ever chocolate bar suitable for widespread consumption. The firm began producing the Fry's Chocolate Cream bar in 1866. Over 220 products were introduced in the following decades, including production of the first chocolate Easter egg in UK in 1873 and the Fry's Turkish Delight (or Fry's Turkish bar) in 1914. In 1896, the firm became a registered private company and was run by the Fry family, with Joseph Storrs Fry II, grandson of the first Joseph Storrs Fry, as Chairman.
Although chocolate bars had their beginnings in the 19th century, their sales grew most rapidly in the early-20th century. In North America, Ganong Bros., Ltd. of St. Stephen, New Brunswick, developed and began selling their version of the modern chocolate bar in Canada by 1910. The Hershey Chocolate Company took the lead in the U.S.A.
The world's largest "chocolate bar" was produced as a stunt by Thorntons plc (UK) on 7 October 2011. It weighed 5,792.50 kg and measured 4m by 4m by 0.35m.
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