Chicago, a sweet epicenter.

Torque has just been awarded the Maurice Lenell Cookie Co. Business (for more about the company). We’re looking forward to the challenge of helping MLC raise their brand awareness, update their Web presence and sell more cookies. Stay tuned to this spot to see how we re-organize, re-position and re-energize the Lenell brand.

In the course of preliminary research as we launch this project, there were a few things that really caught our eye.

• Chicago has a long history as a leader in candy, chocolate and sweets production. Brach’s, Fannie May, Ferrara Pan, Nestle, Lenell and others are brands that have proven the test of time and are part of the “sweets landscape,” It’s impossible to have a discussion of the category without mentioning these brands. More on this later.

• Even brands that we think of as “Chicago brands” are regional and, quite often, national players in the marketplace. Vienna hot dogs, Ferrara Pan, and that little burger joint called “McDonald’s” all have roots here in Chicago. And while some have shed much of the midwestern image, we never forget their “Big Shoulder” roots.

• Candy and sweets bring out a truly “tribal” instinct in people young and old. Everyone has a favorite sweet, be they Lemonheads, Icebox Pinwheel cookies, or Fannie May chocolates (does anyone else remember the “Pixie Shortage of 2004”)

Intrigued, we sought out a resource where we could find more information about the city’s rich sweets heritage. Much to our suprise, we came up with nothing. A blog post here and there, or a corporate site with a nice history and the expected recipes, but no compendium of candy information. With so much passion, history and sugar buzz, shouldn’t there be a Web community dedicated to our shared experiences with Chicago sweets? 

Why, yes, there should be. And there will be. We’ve begun to embark on a journey to create a Sugar Central, a Sweet Retreat, a Chocolate Soapbox (or whatever you’d like to think of it as) that will be a sharing point for sweet tooths, hobbyists, collectors and any other aficionados to come together and share experiences. We have a small group of candy “experts” on hand to give their opinions, but, truth be told, a sticky Slo-Poke, mouth full of Bazooka, or bit of Bit-O-Honey is all it takes to be an expert in our book.