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Gifford Ice Cream Swiss Chocolate Sauce

Subject: Gifford Swiss Sauce
From: Craig
Date: 10/24/2021, 4:56 PM

On 10/24/2021 1:44 PM, Craig wrote:

Growing up in the DC area, there was a small chain of family owned ice cream parlors 
called, Giffords.  They had this amazing chocolate sauce which they referred to as 
Swiss Sauce.  It was a light chocolate and incredible.
Sadly, the business got turned over to the kids and they closed. Any idea on how to 
make that magical sauce?

Thanks so much.


Hello Craig,

It can be a bit confusing to search online for information about Gifford'd Ice Cream because there is another "Gifford's Ice Cream", based in Maine, that is completely unrelated to the one that was in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. The one in Washington D.C., and environs was founded in 1938 by John Nash Gifford and was sold and closed down in 2010.

I have good news and perhaps not-so-good news regarding the Swiss Chocolate Sauce. The good news is that John Nash Gifford's grandson,  Andrew Nash Gifford, has written a book about the company called "We All Scream: The Fall of the Gifford's Ice Cream Empire." In the book, he has reproduced the actual recipe cards from Giffords for many of the products, and the Swiss Chocolate Sauce is one of them. See here for the card: Swiss Sauce

The recipe reads:


6 lb         Sugar
2 1/2 gal Cream
1 gal Mix*
1 gal Milk

Cook to heavy boil, pour into beater.


32 lb    Milk Chocolate
1 can   Swiss Marshmallow*
1 oz     Vanilla

The bad new is that, as you can see, you need more than the recipe in order to properly use the recipe. Note the "1 gal Mix".  Mix is the basic ice cream mix used by Gifford's. You have to have that mix or have a recipe for it and make it yourself. What's in it? Andrew Gifford says the recipe for it is in his book. I couldn't find it on the web.  Now notice "1 can Swiss Marshmallow." What the heck is that? It's another ingredient that you have to make yourself or already have. Andrew Gifford says the recipe for "Swiss Marshmallow" is also in his book. I could not find it on the web. Now notice "Milk Chocolate". Ok, fine. Everybody knows what milk chocolate is, right? Well, it doesn't mean 32 lbs of Hershey bars. It's got to be something that will blend with the other ingredients. Probably a powder. Not cocoa. Cocoa isn't milk chocolate. Powdered milk chocolate would be more like "Nestle's Quick", but without all the added sugar. It's probably a commercial product. It'll take some searching to find it, and it may come in 50 lb bags. Finally, note the amounts of ingredients in the recipe. How much of the sauce does it make?  10 gallons? What to do with that much of it? Have to cut it down to a manageable size.

Anyhow, to even get all of the recipes you need, you are going to have to buy the book. You can buy it from Amazon. See: We All Scream

Then you will have to cut the recipe down to a manageable size. Then you'll have to source the ingredients or figure out substitutes. No telling what ingredients are used to make the "Mix" or the "Swiss Marshmallow." Remember, any time you have to use a substitute ingredient, it may change the taste of the final product.

Sorry to be so negative, but duplicating a commercial product is not simple.

The only shortcut is to forget trying to duplicate it using the same ingredients and instead to make a "copycat recipe." A copycat recipe is one that duplicates the taste, but doesn't necessarily use the original ingredients. It's basically trial and error, and it takes a certain amount of skill and experience to choose the ingredients that will work to produce the right flavor.

You should buy Andrew's book. Maybe he gives some hints in it on how to duplicate the sauce.

Andrew has set up a Facebook Page about Gifford's at: Gifford's Ice Cream & Candy Company: Exploring a DC Legend. There's lots of stuff there, and you can post directly to Andrew there.

I'll post this for input from other readers.


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