Celebrate National Chocolate Day on Florida's Historic Coast

There's no better way to celebrate National Chocolate Day than with tasty treats from Whetstone's Chocolates.

October 5, 2022

What was the first city in North America where residents licked the rich taste of chocolate from their fingertips? Well, like so many other “firsts,” St. Augustine, Florida, the nation’s oldest city, gets this sweet distinction. Established by the Spanish in 1565 as an important military base and the capital of the vast colony of La Florida, St. Augustine was a place where the newly-discovered tastes and treasures of Central and South America could be found – including chocolate! In fact, it is believed the first time the word “chocolate” appeared in writing in North America was on a list of cargo delivered to St. Augustine in 1641.

After that delivery, it took 326 years for the city’s next notable chocolate event. In 1967, a young couple named Henry and Esther Whetstone began making their own chocolate creations each night in a small kitchen in their home. Henry even carved their own molds – the solid chocolate dolphin quickly became a favorite in this seaside town. Within months, they were producing 13 flavors of fudge and assorted hand-dipped products like almonds, pecans, caramels and cherries. Their sudden success convinced them to go all out. In the 1970’s, they abandoned the kitchen and opened their first factory.

Next, they added their daughter Virginia to the family business, and she soon brought Whetstone Chocolates to the next level. Virginia also discovered she shared her parents’ passion for chocolate - she began developing her own successful chocolate formulations! In addition, she learned the importance of having the highest quality cocoa beans to create their products. Virginia traveled to cocoa plantations around the world to personally ensure the very best beans came to Whetstone Chocolates.

In 1984, a larger factory was opened outside of town. It was so big that in addition to keeping up with the ever-growing demand for their products, they began to produce chocolate for companies like Nestle’s, Hershey, and M&M Mars. Today, the factory has moved back to downtown St. Augustine. Located at 139 King Street, it’s a short walk from the heart of the Historic District. Daily Tours give visitors a chance to see chocolate being made, learn about chocolate (including its many health benefits), see the newest Whetstone creations and purchase directly from the factory store. In fact, visitors consistently rank their Whetstone experience among the most enjoyable of their St. Augustine visit.

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