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, the fruiterer and confectioner 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 today join 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 will have its Melbourne launch on Wednesday 2nd December at 10.30am at Reader’s Feast Bookstore. The event will feature a Q&A session with the author, Alister Haigh and archivist Pam McAllister.
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 Australia. In fact in 1965 Haigh’s had a chocolate counter within the Georges Department store on Collins Street, the new home of the Reader’s Feast Bookstore, in a relationship that lasted over twenty years.
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. 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.
Alister says he and his family are proud to share their story: “One hundred years in one business is an achievement, particularly for one family. We hope our family story will appeal and entertain.”
Wednesday 2nd December, 10.15am for 10.30am start, Reader’s Feast Bookstore, 162 Collins Street, Melbourne. Free event.
Bookings are essential. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone Millie on 8372 7027.
FIONA KRAWCZYK of Haigh’s Chocolates 8372 7021 or 0419 825 724