In celebration of National Candy Day, we thought we’d highlight Phillips Chocolates, a legendary candy shop located on Morrissey Blvd in Dorchester!
Let’s go back to 1905 to learn the history of Phillips Chocolates! Philip Strazzula and Concetta DiMare were Italian immigrants from Sicily who met, fell in love, and were married. Philip’s first job in America was in a candy factory. Both Philip and his wife were fast learners and began making chocolates in their kitchen in Revere, Massachusetts.
In 1925, the Strazzulas opened their own candy store in Belmont, Massachusetts, selling chocolates along with homemade ice cream. They called the shop—open until 1977—Phillips Sweets because they felt the spelling with two L’s was more “Yankee-sounding.” Known for being a stickler for high standards, Philip would say, “You have to put in the butter and the cream,” meaning there could be no variations from the family recipe. He always made sure only the highest quality ingredients went into every batch.
In 1952, Philip’s and Concetta’s two sons, Philip Jr. and Matthew (joined by brother-in-law Joseph Sammartino), opened Phillips Candy House on Morrissey Boulevard. Their family business grew over the years, first with the help of their wives, then with the addition of Philip’s son (Philip III), Joseph’s son (Joseph Jr.), and daughter (Mary Ann Nagle).
Mary Ann was the general manager for over 35 years, retiring in 2018. Up until passing away in October of 2016, Anna Sammartino (Joseph and Mary Ann’s mother) was still the “chief taster and critic” at Phillips. All new products first had to pass her inspection. Her favorite candy was refrigerated Bittersweet Peppermint Patties, and she had one a day, believing they would lead to longevity. She lived to be 103!
Today, Michael Pocrass manages the shop with the help of his team: Chief Chocolatier Brian Pandolfi, and Marketing E-Commerce Manager Jackie Parkes. Together with the same candy makers and staff that have worked with the family for more than a quarter of a century, all share a love of chocolate, leading to constant new creations.
One of our favorites from Phillips is their turtles!
Image via postcard of Phillips from the 1930s