At Leckerlee, we pride ourselves on being one of the only bakers of authentic German lebkuchen in the United States, but we certainly weren’t the first to introduce this time-honored treat to an American audience. Some other bakers have produced lebkuchen stateside before us, like the Ericann Candy Company.
Ericann Candy Company History
Founded in 1949, the Ericann Candy Company made lebkuchen and other authentic German sweets in the United States for over three decades. It was run by the brother and sister team of Erich Hamburger and Ann Hofman, both German immigrants. Erich was a baker by trade, who honed his craft in his home country and also Switzerland. Their candy company began as a storefront on East 55th Street in Chicago and then moved to the city’s South Shore neighborhood in the 1960s.
It eventually evolved into a mail-order business, operating out of the Pinewood Lodge in Michigan until the mid-1980s, when the company was sold. Erich passed away in 1991 at age 73, while Ann lived to be 88, passing away in 2003. The Ericann name still endures, however, as their beautifully crafted vintage cookie tins are enthusiastically sought after by collectors on websites like Etsy.
Continuing Ericann’s Unique Mail-Order Legacy
Ericann received praise for its eclectic offerings during a time when the food-by-mail industry was oversaturated with many of the same types of products. Before the advent of the Internet, people relied on mail-order catalogs to ship gifts to friends and family, which was less than ideal. Imagine sending a friend a gift they’ve already received from someone else, or even more embarrassing, sending them the same thing they sent you! The unique German treats Ericann baked provided people with fresh and exciting gift-giving options, especially during the holiday season. This enterprising approach lives on in Leckerlee, which ships delicious lebkuchen nationwide via our online store.
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