‘A gift that will light her up:’ Alberta woman revives mother’s favourite treat

  • Jul. 6, 2018 7:30 a.m.

CAMROSE, Alta. — Every time Crystal Regehr Westergard would go out shopping as a youth, she would ask her mother if she wanted anything.

There was only ever one request: Cuban Lunch.

The rectangular peanut-and-chocolate confection has always been a favourite of Elfie Regehr, now 85. It was an affordable treat for people who, like her, grew up on the Prairies during the Great Depression and Second World War.

When the Winnipeg factory that made Cuban Lunch closed down nearly three decades ago, Regehr Westergard’s mother was stoic.

“She wouldn’t be someone to go on and on about it. Life is what it is for that generation,” Regehr Westergard said from Camrose, Alta.

“But you knew it was her favourite bar.”

Regehr Westergard was inspired to revive the candy after her mother was moved to a nursing home a couple of years ago.

“There’s so few things I can give her as a gift that will light her up, that will make her day, that would make a meaningful difference,” she said.

She dug into online forums, books and even tracked down someone who worked at the Winnipeg factory back in its heyday to pick his brain.

“I saw that there was just a whole community online who, like me, were questing for this special treat — for their parents, largely.”

Regehr Westergard and her husband Bert Westergard started tinkering to recreate the recipe. They would bring some to the nursing home, to her mother’s delight.

Eventually the couple moved to rented kitchens, but the batches were too small to keep up with the demand from the throngs clamouring for the nostalgic treat, which came nestled in a red cup wrapped in cellophane.

So a chocolate factory in Delta, British Columbia, — Brockmann’s Chocolates — was enlisted in the effort. Virtually all other facilities Regehr Westergard explored were peanut-free.

The focus now is on getting the packaging and graphics just right. Regehr Westergard is hoping the candy will be on the market in the next four or five weeks, but she cautions there could be delays.

As part of the process, her husband had to purchase the trademark for Cuban Lunch from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, which had lapsed.

It was laughably cheap to do so.

“I’m not telling people how cheap it is or everyone will run out and get all the trademarks in the whole world and I’ll never get another one,” Regehr Westergard said with a hearty laugh.

“Lots of things did cost us a lot, I’ll tell ya. But not that.”

Regehr Westergard has no intention of quitting her day job.

The Cuban Lunch project is a nice contrast to her work as a physiotherapist, where patients sometimes need a little cajoling and reminding to come to appointments.

“You do not have to help people work up the nerve to come for some chocolate, so it’s nice.”

Just Posted

Severe thunderstorm watch for Central Alberta

Thunderstorm watch covers large area including Sylvan Lake to Stettler

Bird on a wire causes electrical problems in Red Deer

City workers put protective covers on line

WATCH: Kayakers go over Ram Falls south of Nordegg

Two take 30-metre plunge, post video of thrill ride

Count shows slight decrease in Red Deer’s homeless

In two years, the number of homeless in Red Deer has decreased… Continue reading

Nightly closures on Taylor Drive next week

Taylor Drive to be closed Monday to Friday night for bridge demolition work

WATCH: Cirque ZUMA ZUMA puts on a show at Westerner Days

ZUMA ZUMA performs three times a day during Westerner Days

Divers hunt for 4 after Missouri duck boat sinks, killing 13

BRANSON, Mo. — Divers are searching Friday for four people still missing… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer’s noxious weeds are a goat’s dietary delight

Piper Creek Community Garden gets chemical-free weed control

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

From hot to not? The Baloney Meter weighs in on Scheer’s economy claims

OTTAWA — “Justin Trudeau inherited a booming economy, but he’s squandering it.… Continue reading

Scathing suicide inquiry finds gaps, shortcomings at Royal Military College

OTTAWA — Members of a board of inquiry into three suicides at… Continue reading

Premiers strike deal to allow increased flow of beer, alcohol across borders

ST. ANDREWS, N.B. — Canada’s premiers are set to wrap up their… Continue reading

Trump ready to hit all Chinese imports with tariffs

President Donald Trump has indicated that he’s willing to hit every product… Continue reading

Canada’s annual inflation rises 2.5% thanks to boost from higher energy prices

OTTAWA — The country’s annual inflation rate rose 2.5 per cent in… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month