Rocky Road candy bars are delightfully light, fluffy marshmallow, topped with roasted cashew nuts and covered with rich milk chocolate. There is no relationship to the ice cream by the same name.
Sam Altshuler, a Russian immigrant who arrived in the United States in 1917, founded the Annabelle Candy Company in 1950. He learned the art of candy making, and after years of perfecting his recipe, finally achieved success with his Rocky Road candy bar.
He named his business the Annabelle Candy Company after his daughter, and began manufacturing Rocky Road in San Francisco. The product quickly gained popularity throughout the western United States where it has its strongest hold today, and is currently ranked highly among the top best selling chocolate bars on the West Coast.
In 1972, the company purchased Golden Nugget Candy Company, of San Francisco, the makers of Big Hunk and Look candy bars, and began manufacturing those products. In 1978, Annabelle acquired of the Cardinet Candy Company which manufactured U-No and Abba Zaba candy bars.
What started as a family business continues today as the one of the largest independently owned candy bar manufacturers in the United States, producing some of the most popular and traditional West Coast items available on the market today.
In case you are wondering about any connection to the ice cream called Rocky Road, there is none. Rocky Road ice cream was invented in 1929 by the Dreyer's Ice Cream Company. Almost all ice cream made at the time was either vanilla, chocolate or strawberry.
The ice cream company picked a flavor name to give folks something to smile about in the face of the Great Depression. Rocky Road became America's first blockbuster flavor and remains one of the best-selling flavors of all time.
Rocky Road Candy Bar Memories
I remember my Rocky Road from the '50s. We lived just outside of El Centro, California, on the Naval Air Station near a small town called Seeley, population 200. We had a small store there in the housing area and I would take my small allowance from my paper route a couple of times a week to buy myself a Rocky Road.
I recall taking them to my junior high in Seeley and enjoying them with my school lunch, but when I tried to take them with me on my first day of high school in El Centro, eight miles from the base, I ran into a major problem. In junior high, we'd leave our stuff in the classroom (we had kind of a one-room schoolhouse situation for each grade) and they'd be safe.
Unfortunately, at Central High, we had to leave our stuff in our lockers, and with the temperatures in September usually around 100+ degrees, when I went to get my Rocky Road for lunch, I found myself with a gooey mess. Of course, that didn't deter me, I ate it anyway, but from then on, I saved them to eat at home and never brought one to school. Today, I put them in the freezer and eat them ice-cold. ~ Ron from Arizona