The Royal Egyptian Chocolate Factory/Corona

In addition to the restaurants and patisseries of Alexandria, there were other food related industries and activities, of which chocolate is one. Always a great favorite with Alexandrians, it was manufactured in the city starting from the early 1900s. One of the most famous factories is the Royal Chocolate Factory, famous for its Corona chocolate. Here is how it got its gazelle:

In the 1930s, in the industrial distict of Hadra, there was an empty plot of land, some of it covered with dust and sand, and the rest with green palm trees. Next to it was the Manolides marble factory, and the English army barracks. In charge of the barracks was the unsmiling English general. Every morning, dressed in his khaki army uniform, chest covered with the medals he had won in World War I, he would inspect the grounds and the army. Hence his name: the English Inspector, El Mofatesh el Engleezi. And so the street became – and remains – the El Mofatesh Street. This is the story told on the street today, but in reality the street was named after the palace of Ismail Pasha el Mofatish, Minister of Finance in the days of Khedive Ismail.

When the Greek chocolatier Tommy Christo built his chocolate factory there, it was the first of its kind not just in Egypt, but in all the Near East. The workers were both Greeks and Egyptians. Nearby there was a football pitch, where the workers would often play matches against each other. And on the grounds lived a gazelle, which became tame, and was befriended by all the workers. One sad day it was hit by the ball and died. Tommy, the owner, grieved over the soft gazelle, and made it the mark of his chocolate factory, and mounted a statue at the entrance.

The statue of the gazelle can still be found in its place. The name of the factory changed from The Royal Egyptian Chocolate Factory to The Alexandria Factory for Sweets and Chocolate Corona. The days pass, and Tommy dies, and the gazelle remains.