Did you know that 58 million pounds of chocolate will be purchased the week of Valentine’s Day? What about the fact that 47.5% of people give candy on February 14, making it the most popular gift given? Sounds like a majority of the people in the world have a sweet tooth. Also, everyone has their own favorite candy, especially this time of the year. Some of the more popular treats for Valentine’s Day are Hershey’s Kisses, Sweethearts Conversation Hearts, and Lindt Swiss Chocolate. These delicious candies worked their ways into people’s hearts and mouths and have notable histories to go with them. Do you know the story behind your favorite sweet tweet?
When you have a grandfather from Hershey, Pennsylvania (like I do), you quickly become a lover of all Hershey’s chocolate. The classic milk chocolate Hershey’s Kiss was introduced in 1907. According to historians, it is believed that the candy’s name comes from the sound and motion the machine made while dropping the chocolate, supposedly resembling a kiss. At first, the kisses were hand-wrapped in their famous aluminum foil, but by 1921, a machine would take over this job. Also in 1921, the plume (the white paper tail at the top of the kiss) was added. Three years later Milton S. Hershey received the registered trademark for the plume and in 1976, the kiss was officially trademarked for the foil wrapper.
Today, Hershey’s Kisses remain one of the most popular candies in the United States and more than 60 million Kisses are produced daily at the company’s two factories. In addition, the original milk chocolate formula is still used. However, this isn’t the only “flavor” of Kisses available. Variations include milk chocolate with almonds, Kisses filled with caramel, special dark chocolate, cherry cordial, mint truffle, hugs, candy cane, and cookies and crème. In the international arena, creamy milk chocolate and creamy milk chocolate with almonds can be found in Europe, and hazelnut and green tea can be purchased in Asia. Lastly, the foil wrapper and paper plume also change styles and colors for different seasons. This started in 1962 when the first Hershey’s Kisses wrappers went red and green, as well as silver, for the holidays. In 2016, four limited Hershey themed wrappers were released. These included Santa hats, Kissmas sweaters that resembled knit Christmas sweaters, Kissmas trees with plumes that said “Fa La” and Kissmas presents with plumes that stated, “from me to you.” Candy canes were another popular design for Christmas kisses.
Sweethearts Conversation Hearts
At least once in their lives, most people have been gifted the traditional Sweethearts Conversation Hearts at Valentine’s Day. These heart-shaped confections share messages to your loved ones, such as “Hug Me” and “Be Mine” and were started by the candy company, Necco. The company was founded in 1847 by Oliver Chase and was famous for inventing devices that granulated sugar and cut candy lozenges. First, Necco sold a similar treat, but in scallop shaped shells. The messages were written on colored paper and placed inside the candy. In 1861, Chase’s brother created a machine that use red vegetable dye to stamp the sweets. The loveable heart shaped we know today came into being in the early 20th century. Designs for the candies had changed from shells, baseballs, and horseshoes to finally hearts.
The original mottos for Sweethearts Conversation Hearts were “Be Mine,” “Be True,” and “Kiss Me.” These phrases debuted in 1902 and have been used ever since then. Over time, other messages have appeared and disappeared. They have reflected a certain catchphrase of the year or decade, or were geared towards a theme. However, no matter what tiny motto is on the heart, people will still give them to their loved ones. In fact, more than eight billion are sold in the six weeks leading up to February 14th.
Lindt Swiss Chocolate
We can thank Zurich, Germany for the creation of Lindt Swiss Chocolate. In 1845, confectioner David Sprungli-Schwarz and his son Rudolf Sprungli-Ammann began using a new recipe from Italy to make chocolate in their shop in the Martgasse of Zurich’s Old Town. The two soon became known for their sweets and, in 1899, they attracted the attention of notable chocolate maker, Rodolphe Lindt. Just 20 years before, Lindt had invented the “conche,” a technique to melt chocolate. The Sprunglis and Lindt soon combined their two businesses and founded the company with the shortened name of Lindt & Sprungli. Throughout the next decades, the chocolate makers expanded and, in 1915, exported treats to 20 different nations in the world.
One of their most famous recipes, the Lindor, originated in 1949. The Lindor recipe is commonly used for the company’s truffles and has a chocolate shell around a smooth filling. About forty years later, another classic recipe, Lindt Excellence, was introduced. This is a gourmet chocolate created out of the finest cocoa beans. Today, Lindt & Sprungli is mainly referred to as Lindt and is sold internationally.
Whatever your favorite candy treat may be, you can now “wow” your family and friends this Valentine’s Day with your knowledge of three classic seasonal delicacies. Enjoy!