For the palate of Argentine consumers, there probably isn’t a classic treat as popular as Tita or Rhodesia.
Through the years both have won the affection and sympathy of an entire town, but the unknown history behind these goodies reveals dark lattices of infidelities, envy, and murder.
The Tita was created by Edelmiro Carlos Rhodesia in 1949 and Rhodesia was born later, when the factory was already in the hands of Terrabusi. Rhodesia was a young businessman, a pioneer in the Argentine food industry towards the end of the 40s. He was born in Lobos, province of Buenos Aires, at the beginning of the century and after finishing a military career without major awards he returns to his hometown where he founded a small company. In 1943 he met a widow who two years later would be his wife, Lidia Martinez de Terrabusi.
He suffered innumerable infidelities on the part of Lidia and of his life has lots of picturesque data on this. The example of the creation of Melba cookie marketed is worthwhile. History tells us that in 1947 his first and only daughter, Melba, was born, whom Edelmiro Carlos does not appreciate too much because, strangely, his complexion was dark (both he and his wife, with brown skin). This leads to great conflicts and discussions with his wife about the paternity of his daughter. Later this was the name with which the candy was also baptized: Melba, chocolate cookies with lemon flavor filling, almost a metaphor of acidity among the sweetness.
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But what holds the true veil of mystery is the story of his death. The company’s success was immediate, and its sales multiplied enormously with the arrival of television. But not everyone welcomed Rhodesia’s rise. The Bagley family, a traditional candy-producing family, suffered incredible losses and was close to bankruptcy.
Without reliable data on the day of his murder, grievance is recorded in the official records of the time the cover of “homicide”, and continue until today without clarification, the causes and ways in which he was executed. According to prof. Ricardo Bordato, cited as the source of this article, in 1956 Roberto Bagley, an impulsive young heir to his family’s fortune, shot Edelmiro Carlos’s back repeatedly as he prepared the pastry milk candy. Edelmiro Carlos died instantly, Bagley was fugitive several months until he was captured in Holland.
In March 1959 Lidia Martínez de Terrabusi sold the company of Edelmiro Carlos to the cousin of her ex-husband, José Félix Terrabusi and later the company launched the Rhodesia treat in honor of that martyr, on July 1, 1974.
Until the moment of his death in 1989, Lidia never made public statements about the murder of her husband, something that simply remains a mystery.