14 February 2008

Don't Tell Me You Knew Stella D'oro Was A Type Of Flower

When I hear the name 'Stella D'Oro' I think of straight-up deliciousness. But not only is Stella D'Oro primarily an east coast thing, not unlike ginger ale - do you know it's impossible to find a bottle of ginger ale past the Mason–Dixon Line?!, but the company is actually named after a type of flower. I had no idea. Stella D'Oro actually means "star of gold" in Italian.

Stella D'Oro was established in 1930 by a dude named Joseph Kresivich, who had immigrated to the states from Trieste, Italy in 1922.

He opened his first bakery on Bailey Avenue in the Bronx, specializing in Italian baked goods like breadsticks, anisette toast cookies, and egg biscuits. Their products became increasingly popular throughout the city, especially in Italian neighbourhoods.

In the late 1940's, the Kreseviches relocated to West 237th Street in Kingsbridge, opening a factory on the same street. While the company continued to expand into a nationally known company, it remained a family-owned business until 1992, when Nabisco acquired it.

In December 2000, it became part of Kraft Foods when Kraft bought Nabisco and seven ate nine. Funny, just last night I laughed when I realised Kraft made my 'fancy' Grey Poupon.

Stella D'Oro was recently bought by Brynwood Partners, a private equity firm that obviously loves cookies.

Keeping with tradition, Brynwood Partners continued to operate as the Stella D'Oro Company on West 237th Street at the north end of Kingsbridge in the Bronx but in late December of '06, the company moved part of its manufacturing and cookie production to New Jersey. Judas!

When Kraft owned Stella D'Oro they became embroiled in controversy relating to a cost-cutting decision which removed the Pareve designation from all the cookies. Removing the guarantee that the products were dairy-free had a major impact on sales. After seeing sales drop and after hearing from their Kosher customers they they restored the Pareve designation. LeChaim!

There was a summer where I lived on their vanilla Margherite cookies and milk. It's all I ate. As you can imagine by the time fall rolled around I too was rolling around as gaunt and sickly as a float in the insufferable Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. You have not lived until you've dunked a vanilla Margherite in some fresh, cold milk. Dunk that motherfucker until it starts coming apart and eat that bitch. Now that is some over-the-counter heroin.

If for some reason I was ever in exile on a desert island or setenced to life in prison, my desert island snack and my last meal would most certainly include their Swiss Fudge Cookies. Those are no joke. Fuck Oreos. Fuck everything. A Stella D'Oro Swiss Fudge Cookie, or ten, will make you see God. I think a big reason why I love Amaretto Di Saronno so damn much is because it reminds me of my grandfather, who grew up in the Bronx, and how he used to sit after dinner sipping on an espresso with a splash of Anisette and a cookie. Now that's living!


Anonymous said...

didn't stella d'oro also have a restaruant on 237th from the late 60's (maybe 70's) to the mid to late 80's on 237th ?

i could swear that my family did go there alot while i was growing up.

Anonymous said...

the was family was killed off/1992to 1995/then stella doro was sold off/all dead/i know the grandson he died young/he told me he was in danger at the time/look in to who sold the company at the time.made the most money on the sale that who did it.