Q: What is the history of PHILADELPHIA cream cheese? When was it first introduced? What is the connection to the city of PHILADELPHIA?
A: Cream cheese was invented in the United States in 1872
PHILADELPHIA Brand Cream Cheese was introduced in 1880.It was named after the city known for superb foods at that time, especially dairy products.
Kraft acquired PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese in 1928 when Kraft merged with the Phenix Cheese Company, the producer of “PHILADELPHIA” Cream Cheese
From Dupont Magazine
Smooth, rich and creamy Kraft Foods Inc. Philadelphia brand cream cheese is backed by a venerable 127-year personal history. A man named Lawrence, who first churned the cheese, gave the product its urban name to remind buyers of Philadelphia’s renown for quality dairy food products. Invented in Chester, New York, and now produced at one of several Kraft facilities throughout the United States, this cream cheese was never made in Philadelphia. That’s right, we’re squelching that persistent impression right here
Then from “The History of Cheese Making in New York State” by Eunice Stamm, Lewis Group Limited, Endicott NY, 1991
“The origin of the “Philadelphia Brand” (cream cheese) has been the subject of countless debates between legislators as well as cheese makers and local residents who remembered the heyday of its manufacture in their valley. Although the word “Philadelphia” was included in the name of the cream cheese made in Chester about 1872 and in Philadelphia, New York, in the 1880’s, this brand was legally established for the cheese made in the Empire Factory in South Edmeston.”
The piece goes on to give a little more history on how this brand was delivered in New York City, how the factory burned and was rebuilt as the Phenix (we never did learn how to spell very well in these parts) company that was eventually bought out by Kraft.
Chester is north of Albany in the eastern section of the Adirondacks and Philadelphia is in the western section of the Adirondacks. South Edmeston is about 20 miles south of Utica and just over the hill from where I sit now. It would seem to me that Philadelphia brand is named after the small town in New York rather than the city in Pennsylvania. I’ve looked around the web but all that I’ve come across is the Kraft company line on how it was named after the city. It seems much more plausible to me that it was named after the town that was closer to its geographical origin. This guy named Lawrence, is there research to back this dude up, or did Kraft make him up and the story ?
Does anyone have any information regarding the “debates between legislators” or any other information that could shed some light the burning question…
Is Philadelphia cream cheese named after the city or the small town on the edge of the Adirondacks ?