For the last 80 years, Koppers Chocolate has been one of the most respected specialty panners of gourmet chocolates and specialty confections in the world. Today, Koppers is a third-generation, private, family-owned-and-run business passionate about chocolate. Every bite-size piece is truly a labor of love, and a work of art.
Over the years, Koppers has been recognized throughout the world for leading in the development of gourmet chocolates, taking specialty confections from their infancy to the incredible delectables we all enjoy today. Koppers is a six-time award winner for Fancy Food Show Chocolate Of The Year and continually strives to be an innovative chocolatier.
Koppers has been producing award-winning panned chocolates also known as “dragees” (pronounced “dra-zshay”) since 1937, right in the heart of New York City's vibrant Greenwich Village. In this new millennium, Koppers marries the best of old world, quality, time-honored production techniques with the most modern high-tech capabilities.
A Sweet History
The company was founded by Fred “Pappi” Stern, who fled Nazi Germany with his family. Fred was very good with machinery, and partnered with a European chocolatier, David Kopper, to form the company. Their intention was to combine Old World sensibilities with New World technology, creativity and originality.
They chose to call the company Koppers because they thought a name starting with “K” sounded strong and would be successful. They were right!
Although Mr. Koppers retired soon after the company formed, Koppers continued to make a wide array of chocolates with the original aspirations of its owners. Koppers was the first in the U.S. to make chocolate lentils and mint lentils (predating M&M’s), which we still produce today. We were the first company to combine chocolate and coffee with our Mocha Beans, as well as unique liquid-center cordials, chocolate espresso beans, chocolate gummi bears, and all varieties of panned chocolates.
In addition, Koppers produced enrobed chocolates, molded chocolates, chocolate lollipops, Whitman-type samplers, and literally every type of chocolate, with state of the art machinery coupled with highly trained chocolatier experts in handmade confections.
Commitment to Excellence
Business was thriving with the creation of Koppers’ popular confections. In 1970, Pappi’s son-in-law Harold Alexander (a WWII veteran) took over the reins, with his wife Lorie. Harold elected to refocus the company on panned chocolates, to be literally the best panner of chocolate in the world.
Koppers was the first chocolate company to produce kosher chocolates under national supervision (the Circle K). We were the first to focus on the sophisticated tastes of semisweet and bittersweet chocolates. While the rest of the country was consuming 90% milk chocolate, Koppers was always much more heavily focused on higher quality dark chocolate and creative and sophisticated chocolates – really maintaining its original core focus on combining the best of the Old World and New World.
In 1980, Koppers relocated to a new building, still in Greenwich Village, but with more space and better truck access. Over the years, many companies endeavored to copy the panned product line Koppers originated – most to a more generic level. But over the past 80 years, many believe that no one else has achieved the quality of product coupled with the vast array of choices and creativity.
Since the mid-1990’s, the third generation of the Koppers family – brother/sister team Leslye and Jeff Alexander – jointly took helm of the company. Lorie still comes in nearly every day to uphold the tradition.