It started with the dreams of 19-year-old Alfred Haigh in his fruit and homemade sweets shop in rural Jamestown in 1890s colonial South Australia.
Twenty years later, in 1915, he founded Haigh’s Chocolates.
Today, 100 years on, Haigh’s Chocolates employs more than 500 people in three States and is owned and run by Alfred’s great grandsons.
Alfred’s descendants have joined Wakefield Press to publish Enjoyed for Generations, a history of Haigh’s Chocolates.
Written by international culinary historian and author Barbara Santich to mark the firm’s centenary, Enjoyed for Generations was launched on 17th November by prominent South Australian Amanda Vanstone in the Mortlock Chamber of the State Library of South Australia.
The 250-page, glossy, hardcover book is illustrated with hundreds of historic photographs from the Haigh family private collections and business archives. It brings to life the story of chocolate making and a family that grew with South Australia.
As surprising as it seems today, chocolate at the turn of the 19th Century was a rare treat enjoyed by just 3 percent of people. Haigh’s grew with and helped popularise chocolate ahead of all other confectionery over the course of the 20th Century.
Research for the compelling social history began three years ago as Haigh’s opened files and store rooms to assemble stories and colourful anecdotes that will remind readers of treats and lives from decades past and tell how a business grows with its people and in the community that it serves.
It contains a host of anecdotes, such as how Claude Haigh’s horse-breeding and racing underpinned Haigh’s Chocolates in the 1930s Depression; how Claude’s son and current Chairman John Haigh, in the 1950s and barely out of his teens, went to work in Switzerland to learn from Swiss masters and came home to perfect the taste of Haigh’s. How the fourth and current generation, joint Managing Directors Alister and Simon Haigh, built and cemented their family firm as a major manufacturer and retailer of international repute.
The Haigh family are very proud to share their story. One hundred years in one business is an achievement, particularly for one family and they hope the story will appeal and entertain.
Enjoyed for Generations is now available from all Haigh’s Chocolates 14 stores located in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, online and other selected book stores.