Conversation Hearts from Brach’s, from NECCO and from the Enlarging MachineMonday, February 1st, 2010 by Becca Droz
Denture Danger: 2-7
The classic Valentines Day candy… these candy hearts are so popular that both The New England Confectionary Company (NECCO) and Brach’s manufacture them, and now they are even made in an enlarged size. The candies themselves are definitely more of a novelty item than a tasty candy. In fact, eating too many can induce side effects of nausea.
Even though Brach’s and NECCO both make these conversation hearts they aren’t identical candies. The differences start with aesthetics. NECCO takes the gold in this category.
The Brach’s Conversation Hearts have a greater width making them look more generic and almost like their shape has been a mistake. The second difference is consistency; this award goes to Brach’s. Your teeth can sink right into the Brach’s hearts while the NECCO hearts put up a strong fight creating significant amount denture danger.
The third difference is taste. The corresponding colors don’t even have all of the same flavors. Both types of hearts have white wintergreen, purple grape, orange orange, green lime, and pink cherry, but the yellow in the NECCO group is banana while the Brach’s side steps the banana and chooses a somewhat more tasty but virtually indistinguishable flavor.
Another difference between the two is the short sayings printed on the hearts. Not only are the Brach’s sayings sloppier and harder to read, but some of the sayings are quite inappropriate, especially for Valentines day. While the NECCO hearts have classic sayings such as, “Let’s Kiss,” “Miss You,” and “Cutie Pie,” Brach’s hearts spread negativity with “No Way,” “See Ya” and “Good Bye” and aren’t as appropriate for the young ones with “Too Hot” and “So Fine” mixed in with the usuals.
I don’t understand why a Valentines Candy would have sayings on it that promote negativity.
The Large Conversation Hearts have a solely aesthetic advantage. They make reading the saying a little bit easier (even though many are still off-center or illegible), but eating one is way too much gross sugary flavor for one bite.
The first idea for conversation hearts originated back when Abraham Lincoln was president. Mottoes were a candy that contained a rolled up piece of paper inside the shell shaped candy that sported the sayings that influenced today’s conversation hearts.
Daniel Chase (the brother of NECCO’s founder, Oliver Chase) experimented with the idea of putting messages on candies with hand tools in the 1860s. He soon realized this process would be much too tedious to continue and thus he created a machine to print messages on the candies.
The first conversation candies were especially popular at weddings with their witty sayings such as “Married in satin, Love will not be lasting,” “Married in pink, He will take to drink,” and “Married in white, You have chosen right.” These long messages were not printed directly on the candies but were written the original way on rolled up pieced of paper inside the candies.
The idea for the modern day hearts came about in 1902 along with candies in other shapes such as baseballs and horseshoes. Today the heart shaped candies are so popular that during NECOO’s peak production periods, approximately 100,000 pounds of conversation hearts are made each day and all of these hearts sell out in about six weeks. Eight billion candy conversation hearts are produced every year just by NECCO; that is enough hearts that if lined up they would stretch from Rome, Italy to Valentine, Arizona and back twenty times… that’s a lot of hearts.
Despite the unsatisfactory taste of these little candies they still remain an almost necessary purchase for the Valentines Day season. Though the Brach’s might taste better, I’d recommend buying the not-so-negative classic NECCO Conversation Hearts; these candies aren’t really for eating anyway.