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Sunday
Jul122009

Candy Mountain: The Story of the Mountain Bar, An All-Terrain Treat

Cherry Mountain Bar
Have you ever heard of the mountain bar?

It first hit the CakeSpy radar a few months ago when buddy Allison picked one up at the drugstore as a bit of a consolation because they had run out of Cadbury Creme Eggs. Not that it's a new thing, mind you: the Mountain Bar has actually been around since 1915.
Mountain BarMountain bar
The mountain bar is a thing of beauty. Upon opening it, you may remark that it looks not so much like a mountain as a present left under the sofa by a naughty pet. But there's a delicious secret inside, as shown at the top--this is the cherry mountain, but it is also available in the original chocolate-nut flavor as well as a peanut butter filled variety. These are dense and rich little nuggets--definitely not a subtle or sophisticated food, but they will give you a sweet fix, and fast.
Mountain Bar

But what is even more compelling than their flavor is their story, as discovered on their site:

The MOUNTAIN® Bar was first put on the market by Brown & Haley in 1915 as the "Mount Tacoma Bar". The bar began with a fondant vanilla center...Sitting before individual warm chocolate pots, the dippers would make a puddle of tempered chocolate mixed with freshly ground peanuts. After rolling the center a little bit more, they would take a scoop of the tempered mix, forcing the center into the scoopful of the mixture. Then, with the heel of the hand, the bottom would be smoothed off and deposited on a waxed card. After the bar was made, it was put in a blue, hand-folded box that had a picture of Mount Tacoma (now Mt. Rainier) on it. Today our state of the art machinery turns out 592 MOUNTAIN® Bars per minute under the strictest sanitary conditions.

By 1923 the name of the bar had changed to just plain "MOUNTAIN®" due to the fact that its sales were beginning to spread into regions beyond Tacoma and the name "Mount Tacoma" conflicted with Seattle's name, Mount Rainier, which was beginning to gain ascendancy.

When World War II arrived, Brown & Haley was making as many as 25 different candy bars. With a shortage of sugar, the company decided to concentrate all of its efforts behind the production and marketing of its leading candy bar, the MOUNTAIN® Bar. This had the effect of establishing the brand as a regional favorite. Shortly after that the company decided to change the name of one of its brands from Cherry Bounce to Cherry MOUNTAIN® Bar in order to capitalize on the brand's strength. In 1974, Brown & Haley introduced the Peanut Butter MOUNTAIN® Bar.


Of course, all of this learning may ultimately lead you to the same question being tossed around Chez CakeSpy: is it possible to make the Mountain Bar even more delicious?

 

The answer is yes: just add ice cream. For an amazingly rich and decadent treat, why not try the Mountain Milkshake?
Milkshake time!
Cherry Mountain Milkshake

Serves 2

  • 1 Cherry Mountain Bar (or two, if you're feeling particularly decadent)
  • 4 generous scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 1/4 cup milk (or more, or less, depending on how thick you like it)


Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If desired, add more milk for a thinner shake, more ice cream for a thicker shake. Enjoy.

Milkshake!

 

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Reader Comments (21)

Beautiful! I love the stories behind regional treats. And, I feel like breaking into a chorus of "Climb Every Mountain!"

Thanks for this expose, never heard of the mountain bar before but love cherries and chocolate (and milkshakes for that matter). I'll have to track one of this bars down and try it out.

You've found it! The Big Rock Candy Mountain, that is :) Now where are the lakes of stew and whiskey?

July 12 | Unregistered Commenterwix

That milkshake looks and sounds super delicious.

July 12 | Unregistered CommenterNutmeg Nanny

I ve never had a mountain bar now I m craving one !

July 12 | Unregistered CommenterSnooky doodle

That milkshake looks INSANE. And right up my husband's alley... off to send the link.

July 12 | Unregistered Commenterdebbie koenig

Amazing what a whir and a bit of milk can do to transform something.

July 12 | Unregistered Commenterchou

I loved cherry mountains when I was a kid! Funny, I saw one at a drugstore a few weeks ago and before that I hadn't seem them in years...I just assumed they didn't make them any more. I never realized they were regional (I'm from Portland). Thanks for the fun history lesson!

July 13 | Unregistered CommenterLola

We are whipping down to Seattle tomorrow for some last minute wedding shopping. I'll try to pop into a drugstore to look for this. Do they have them at grocery stores?

July 13 | Unregistered CommenterLydia

TW: Somehow I feel like breaking out in song with you!

Tender: hope you can find one!

Nutmeg Nanny: It was!

Wix: If only I knew...if only!

Snooky: Good, it means I am doing my job! :-)

Debbie: it's delicious. It would work with a similar candy too I think but doesn't the name Cherry Mountain Milkshake just sound wonderful?

Chou: So true. ;-)

Lola: Yup! They are regional, but I believe they can be found throughout the country.

Lydia: Yeah, they'd have them at any drugstore or grocery store. They're definitely not fancy but they do have a certain charm!

July 13 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

I love mountain bars. I was born in Tacoma so I certainly have been in love with these most of my life. So glad that they are a local treat!

July 13 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

I'm a sucker for Peanut Butter Mountain Bars. Making a milkshake out of them is just genius. High five!

OMG I wish I had that here! I loveee cadbury creme eggs, so I am sure I would be in love with these as well. Yum.

July 13 | Unregistered CommenterChanel11

The peanut butter bars sound like something I would go crazy for!
And I'm still laughing about the naughty pet comment! :D

July 13 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie

I feel so deprived. I have never had one before! What's up with that?

I haven't heard of the mountain bar but looking at your pics I know it makes me, weak at the knees to want to try one now ;0)

July 14 | Unregistered Commenter♥Rosie♥

Oh my...this looks fabulous!!!!

July 14 | Unregistered CommenterKendra

whoa, what?! thanks for featuring my beloved mountain bar. mmmm!

the only place i've ever found them reliably has been at bartell's in the seattle area. or the internet...

July 14 | Unregistered CommenterAllison

I found it at a gas station convenience store north of Burlington. I just can't get behind American drugstore chocolate. You should do a taste test to taste the differences between American and Canadian versions of the same chocolate bars. British ones too, if you can get them.

July 15 | Unregistered CommenterLydia

Thanks everyone! And lydia, that is a great idea!! We've got to have a candy summit!

July 15 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

Ooooh I've always loved Cherry Mountain Bars, they were my mom's favorite when I was a kid, so they remind me of her. :)

July 15 | Unregistered CommenterKaree Barrett
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