Bluebird still doing chocolate
the slow, hand-made way
By Diane Denning
March 19, 2009 | The smell of freshness pierces your
nose as you step into the historic, little building
at 75 W. Center St. The aroma of melting chocolate floats
from the pot in the rolling room and resides in the
brim of your nostrils causing you to lust after the
creamy smell. Your eyes finally catch up to your nose
and you realize you are standing directly in front of
a vast display of chocolates.
The glass display case is filled with at least 40 types
of chocolates: Lemon Cream, Billy Mint, Key Lime Truffle,
Heavenly Hash, and creamy milk chocolate, rich dark
chocolate and luscious white chocolate smothered over
cashews, pecans and walnuts.
According to "The Bluebird Story," written by Guy
Cardin and Woodrow W. Jeppesen, in 1914 O. Guy Cardin,
M. N. Newburger, and Julius Bergsjo started a candy,
ice cream, and soda fountain shop in Logan and named
it the Bluebird. A few years later they added sandwiches,
chili and other items to their candy shop, which stood
at 12 W. Center St. Then, in 1923 they built the restaurant
that still stands at 19 N. Main St.
According to Joanna Fraser, the Bluebird Candy Factory
office manager, in the mid-1960s the back part of the
restaurant was turned into a parking lot. The candy
making part was moved into another building, just around
the corner and down about a block from the restaurant,
where the candy factory currently stands. The building
was originally the Hotel Logan Building, but has been
the home of Bluebird Candy Factory for the last 50 years.
When the Bluebird owners decided to sell, potential
buyers didn't want to buy the restaurant and the candy
factory, so they were sold separately. Dick Motta bought
the candy shop and decided to keep making the candy
the original way.
"The chocolates you buy at the Bluebird restaurant
aren't original Bluebird candy," Fraser said. "We use
the old recipes and do it by hand. The same way it has
been done for years."
According to Hershey's.com, chocolate is made from
a cocoa bean found deep in the jungles around the world
from Brazil to Indonesia to the Ivory Coast to Ghana.
The beans grow on a tree called the cacao tree in pods
and are hand harvested from the trees. Then, they are
placed in big heaping piles to ferment. During fermentation
the shells of the cocoa beans harden, the beans darken,
and the cocoa flavor develops. After the beans are dry,
they are transported to the chocolate companies around
All of the chocolate treats sold as Bluebird candy
are made right here in Logan. The chocolate arrives
in big blocks of 10-pound bars. The workers take a hammer
and beat the chocolate bar to break it up. Then, they
dump the chocolate into a pot and let the chocolate
"This is the way it used to be done, but very few
places do it this way today," Fraser said. "We have
a reputation for it."
The centers of the chocolate are also made by hand,
cooled and cut into little squares. Flavors include
orange cream, lemon cream, rum-flavored pecan centers,
brown sugar and maple, and a variety of caramel and
nuts. Once the chocolate has melted and been stirred,
it is placed in another container where it cools until
the temperature is comfortable to the touch.
"We have to get the chocolate cool," said Suzan Bryner,
five-year chocolate dipper. "If it is too hot, it gets
gray and speckled."
After the chocolate has cooled to the correct temperature,
the dippers add a little bit of water to thicken it.
Then they start dipping. Bryner said Bluebird chocolate
doesn't have any wax in it, so the small amounts of
water are necessary to thicken the chocolate. If the
chocolate isn't thick enough, the mark on the top of
the chocolate won't stay. Instead it will sink into
the middle of the candy.
With a premade square center positioned on the tip
of their fingers, the employees dip their hands in a
puddle of liquid white, dark or milk chocolate directly
in front of them on a large granite table.
The dippers move their fingers in a distinct pattern,
getting the excess chocolate to drip smoothly through
their fingers and back into the puddle of chocolate.
Once the excess amount has dripped off, they place the
chocolate on a piece of wax paper and with delicacy
and exact preciseness. With a dainty touch of one finger
in a distinct patter, the dippers create the circular,
square or swoopy design which is different on the top
of 36 different chocolates.
"The dippers do a very nice job, and they make it
look so easy," Fraser said. "Dipping by hand is the
most interesting part."
Fraser said it takes six weeks for a chocolate dipper
to become familiar and efficient with the process of
dipping chocolate. But the dippers feel it takes two
to three years for them to feel completely comfortable
with the technique of dipping and getting the design
on the top right each time.
The finished chocolates are left out until they have
hardened. Then, they are stored in boxes in the 68 degree
storage room until they are either packed up and shipped
somewhere around the world, or placed in the glass case
to intrigue the buyer's of Cache Valley.
"We ship candy all over the United States," Fraser
said. "We have even sent some to China."
The chocolate has to be airmailed, but people from
all over the world have connections with this chocolate.
Fraser said graduates of Utah State University remember
the chocolate from when they were in school. Many repeat
customers have made Bluebird chocolate part of their
"We are making something fresh every day," Bryner
said. "And it is good for up to six months."
Fraser said the chocolates will last longer if you
don't put the chocolates in the fridge or the freezer.
They will still taste delicious, but they will lose
their pretty. Bryner said the dust from the cocoa starts
to form on the outside edge making the chocolate to
look old. They will last longer and keep their taste
longer if you keep them in a room with temperature around
the temperature of their storage room, 68 degrees.
According to Hersheys.com, most chocolate bars are
made by pouring the liquid chocolate paste into moulds.
The moulding machines can fill more than 1,000 moulds
per minute with delicious Hershey's chocolate. Hershey's
chocolate kisses are made a little differently than
the bars also according to Hersheys.com. Special machines
drop a precise amount of chocolate onto a moving steel
belt and then quickly cool it to form the famous Hershey's
Kiss shape. Hershey makes more than 80 million Kiss-shaped
products every day at its chocolate factories in Hershey
Hershey's chocolate is made relying on machines to
do the work. Bluebird chocolates rely on the nimble
fingers of workers who have been there for years. One
of the dippers has been working there for over 40 years
and another one has been there for over 20.
"We can't compete with equipment," Fraser said. "But
we like to think we are better."
The most popular chocolate made by Bluebird is one
called the Victoria. It has a rum-flavored center with
chopped pecans and is covered with milk chocolate. The
rum gives the chocolate a kick as soon as you bite into
the middle of the circular treat. Fraser added the rum
"is just a flavoring." They get that asked that question
These hand-dipped chocolate have been around for years
and aren't going to leave. It is what Bluebird chocolates
are known for, it is their reputation. The smell of
warm chocolate melting in a pot will always greet you
when you open the door to the factory during normal
business hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
The smell invites you in and doesn't let you leave until
you have tasted at least one of the many chocolates
waiting in the glass case directly in front of you.
"It sure smells a lot better than a lot places to
work," Fraser said.