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Behind the Bud: How an Iconic Chocolate is Made

The Wilbur family never imagined that a small chocolate drop would change history. But when the Wilbur Bud was first introduced in 1894, there was truly nothing like it. Since then, a lot has changed—and many other chocolate-makers have created confections that resemble the Wilbur Bud. Yet at Wilbur Chocolate, we’ve stayed committed to our defining creation—and continue to introduce generation after generation to a memorable chocolate drop that simply can’t be beat.

Think you know everything about the history of the Bud? Here are a few lesser-known facts about a bite-sized indulgence that’s loved by legions of fans.

The Bud recipe has remained unchanged

At Wilbur, we’ve been producing premium, American-made Buds for over a century—and through the years, we’ve kept our recipe the same. We still use the same quality ingredients we always have, including sustainably sourced cocoa, fine dairy, and rich vanilla beans. Together, these ingredients make something more: silky-smooth chocolates that families keep falling in love with—and a taste that’s unmistakably Wilbur.

Buds were originally wrapped in foil

The Bud predates another, similarly shaped local chocolate by over a decade. Like this familiar creation, Buds were once foil-wrapped, too. This wrapping preserved the freshness of the Bud—an important consideration since, in those days, it took much longer for food to travel from factories to store shelves.

How they’re made makes all the difference

Wilbur Buds are made using a special, flower-shaped mold. This mold gives our Buds their unique appearance (and imprints the Wilbur name on every chocolate!). While this process is now a hallmark of the Wilbur Bud, it wasn’t invented as a way to enhance the chocolate’s appearance; it was created to improve efficiency.

Before he developed the Wilbur Bud, chocolatier and company founder H.O. Wilbur wanted to find a way to sell more of his chocolate. The answer was simple, yet resourceful. By depositing liquid chocolate into specially designed molds, he could speed up production, and introduce more customers to his rich chocolate. The Wilbur Bud was born, and the company never looked back, owing much of its fame to this distinct, bite-sized chocolate.

The Wilbur family didn’t get their start in chocolate

Despite securing their place in history as the country’s second-oldest chocolatier, the Wilbur family didn’t get their start in chocolate. In fact, founder H.O. Wilbur ran a successful hardware and stove business before entering into candy-making in 1865.

Wilbur, along with his business partner Samuel Croft, created hard molasses candies that were sold on passenger trains. These candies were incredibly successful and, decades later, led to the creation of two distinct companies: Croft & Allen, creator of non-chocolate candies, and H.O. Wilbur & Sons, which specialized in chocolate products.

Sources: Lititz Historical Foundation, Encyclopedia.com