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Candy History, Candy Memories, Candy News, Retro Candy, Valentine's Candy

Ode to the Conversation Heart

February 5, 2019 by
NECCO Conversation Hearts

For generations, Valentine’s Day has not been complete without at least one box of Conversation Hearts. You know them when you see them. Also known as Sweethearts, they’re the super sweet, heart-shaped treats with phrases like, ‘Be Mine’ and ‘Kiss Me’ emblazoned on the front. A staple of school parties and a beloved addition to candy drawers everywhere, Conversation Hearts have truly been a cornerstone of the sweetest holiday of the year for generations. 

Unfortunately, all those days spent loving (or loving to hate) Conversation Hearts will soon become just a memory. NECCO, the original manufacturer of Conversation Hearts went out of business last year, leaving fans of the candy wondering what would happen to this time-tested favorite.

NECCO conversation hearts

This news has left a bitter taste in the candy world. While the fate of this treat hangs in the balance, we are all left wondering how to get our fill of our favorite sweets this February 14th. Whether Conversation Hearts were always your first pick, or if they were the candy you ended up eating after your chocolate stash ran out, they were always there, consistently sweetening up even the dreariest February days.

Spangler Candy Company currently owns the Sweethearts brand, but, having only acquired the brand in September, the company has reported that they did not have time to produce this perennial treat in time for Valentine’s Day. Although Spangler has intentions of bringing the candy back in 2020, there’s no guarantee that we’ll get our beloved Conversation Hearts next year either.

Have any special Sweethearts memories you’d like to share? We’d love to hear! WANT TO WIN OUR LAST 1 POUND BAG OF NECCO CONVERSATION HEARTS? Simply tell us your most memorable Sweethearts moments in the comments below to enter. Keep the spirit of the Conversation Heart alive as we wait to see what next year will bring.

And while you may try to fill the void with other seasonal favorites, there is truly nothing else quite as special as a Conversation Heart.

Candy History, Candy in Pop Culture, Candy News, Lollipops, Valentine's Candy

Valentine’s Day Is For Candy Lovers

February 9, 2018 by

valentine's dayAs Valentine’s Day is a day of love and candy, I decided to do a little research as to why. We all know that the big Hallmark holidays like Halloween and Valentine’s Day are all about candy, but have you ever thought about why you are stuffing chocolates into your mouth? Ancient Romans were the first ones to start the Valentine’s Day tradition. There were two different Saint Valentines that the holiday was named after.  Every year around mid February, the Romans held an enormous festival called Lupercalia. This contained a feast in which the single young adults ate treats, drank alcohol, got to know each other, and would get married if everything went how the adults hoped it would. But his year to prepare for Valentine’s Day I  gave out some surveys to find out what kinds of candies are everyone’s favorites for the lovely holiday.

My surveys asked people to circle which candies they would most like to eat on Valentine’s Day. The list included: Conversation Hearts, Chocolate Sampler Boxes, Lollipops, Red and White M&Ms, Jelly Hearts, and Chocolate Roses. There was also an ‘other’ section that got answers like Reese’s Cups and Chocolate Pretzels. I was sure that the boxes of chocolate and Conversation Hearts were going to be the most liked candies, but the results that I received proved me wrong. The top three most popular were the Chocolate Sampler Boxes, Lollipops, and the M&Ms. So let’s talk about those.

boxed chocolateA classic example of a chocolate sampler box is the Whitman’s Sampler. Around 1915 it was the best selling box of chocolates in America. Whitman knew a lot about marketing which allowed his company to greatly prosper straight through the Great Depression and World War II. His most memorable (and highly sexist) ad campaign “ A Woman Never Forgets the Man Who Remembers” was what made the company’s profits skyrocket and what is keeping the candies here today. With a wide variety of chocolates in every box such as caramel and strawberry creme, a consumer will always find something to love about these delightful boxes. Even though we don’t carry Whitman chocolates, the gourmet chocolates we feature are quite decadent and delicious!  

lollipops

The history of lollipops is a little fuzzy, but there are lots of ideas of where they came from. If you’re curious, Jon Prince wrote about their history here.  I have always really enjoyed lollipops, in fact my next blog (which will be licktastic) is all about the little candies on a stick. I remember getting them at banks as a kid and watching their transformations there from bland flavors to Dum Dums. I also remember stealing them from my older siblings and eating them because I just couldn’t get enough of their flavorful sugar. On Valentine’s Day, lollipops come in lots of forms. There are basic pink and red ones of course, but the best are the clear heart shaped ones (that can easily be mistaken for soap on a stick). They can be given out to children’s classrooms or given to your loved ones as a small way to show them your affection.

m&m'sM&Ms have been around since 1941 and were created by the Mars candy company. For a long time, consumers had been searching for a chocolate that wouldn’t melt before they got around to eating it and M&Ms were the answer to this problem. In 1954, their famous slogan, “melts in your mouth, not in your hands” was introduced causing their already great chocolate to be even greater. The company slowly put out different colors and flavors of M&Ms, eventually making them America’s favorite candies.

I hope that you’ve learned something about candy this Valentine’s Day. Whether it was the fact that the Whitman’s chocolate company was just a bit sexist or that lollipops are much more popular than expected, there is always something to learn. I would like to keep learning about these candies, so take the poll below and let us know what your favorite Valentine’s Day candy is by submitting your choice in the comments section. Happy holiday!

Choices:

  • Conversation Hearts
  • Chocolate Sampler Boxes
  • Lollipops
  • Red and White M&Ms
  • Jelly Hearts
  • Chocolate Roses
  • Other
Holiday Candy, Lollipops, Valentine's Candy

Get Creative with Candy this Valentine’s Day

January 19, 2012 by

Candy for Valentines Day 2012Valentine’s Day is kind of a polarizing holiday. Young lovers love it, and lonely curmudgeons hate it. And so do a lot of normal people. The legendary stories that inspired the celebration vary widely, and the only really clear thing is that people have been getting romantic once a year for centuries. But a holiday about love in the middle of winter makes sense. Celebrating loved ones might be the best thing to do when you’ve been stuck inside with them for months. Just imagine what it would be like if you shared a hovel with them. Or a Conestoga wagon. These days, we’ve got it easy, so let’s stop grumbling and focus on showing people some love.

When you think about candy all the time, Valentine’s Day is super fun. It’s a time for surprises and the joy of delighting people you love. As a relatively “small holiday,” there aren’t that many gifts to choose from — it’s candy, flowers, jewelry, or a mix tape.  And anything that’s not candy goes better with candy. But there are plenty of ways to mix it up and get creative. You can find out your crush’s favorite candy from childhood, then shock them with a whole box. If you’re ambitious, you could even fill a locker or a car with candy.

We’ve got all the traditional candies, like all kinds of conversation hearts and hand-poured mixed chocolates. Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate true love, or friendship, or family. Just find your favorite way to make someone feel special. Here are some interesting options, and you’ll find lots more in our Valentines Candy section.

Valentine’s Day Favorites

stocking stuffer lollipops
lollipops that spin

 

Bulk Candy Reviews, Candy Reviews, Valentine's Candy

Ju Ju Hearts Filled With Ju-Ju Love

February 12, 2010 by

Juju Hearts are a fun candy for Valentine's Day and may be infused with magical powers...

Juju Hearts are a fun candy for Valentine’s Day and may be infused with magical powers…

Sharability: 10

Denture Danger: 8

Convenience: 8

Novelty: 8

Overall: 7

Ju Ju Hearts are another great Valentine’s Day candy. Upon seeing the bag of red scrumptious squishy hearts I assumed they would be cinnamon flavored. Though these hearts would probably be better with the cinnamon spice tongue tingler, the cherry flavor that lies within the Ju Ju Heart is far from terrible.

It has a similar flavor to the red jolly rancher, but it isn’t too sweet or medicinal tasting, which many cherry flavored candies tend to be. The Ju Ju heart is a great candy for the gummy valentine.

Coming from West African origin, Ju-Ju is either an object used as an amulet or fetish or is the word representing the supernatural power that is ascribed to an object. The terms came to the United States through African slaves and those who still practice certain African traditions still use the term Ju-Ju and the customs associated with it.

I don’t want to make any rash assumptions, but if I were to take a guess I would say that the manufacturer named these hearts ‘Ju Ju Hearts’ with the not-so-hidden-implication that there are supernatural powers of love implanted in every heart, but don’t take my word for it.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juju

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/juju

Candy Reviews, Valentine's Candy

Valentine’s Day Chocolate: Switch it Up with Reese’s Cups, Hershey’s Hearts, and Nonpareils

February 10, 2010 by

Reese's Peanut Butter Hearts are a perfect gift for a love one and the combination of Milk Choclate and Peanut Butter really can't be beat!

Reese's Peanut Butter Hearts are a perfect gift for a loved one and the combination of Milk Choclate and Peanut Butter really can't be beat!

Sharability: 10

Denture Danger: 4

Convenience: 5

Novelty: 6

Overall: 8

 Valentine’s Day Mini Reese’s are adorned in gold and red foils, waiting to be undressed and enjoyed by the peanutbutter-chocolate lover. I offered a bag of chocolates to my friends and all of them reached for the Reese’s cups saying “When you see chocolates always go straight for the one shaped as a Reese’s cup.”

 Nonpareils are by definition the little color sugar balls that decorate small milk chocolate discs. I don’t understand why the name of the candy (which is basically a colorful snow cap) is named after the little balls, I think they could have come up with a more creative name, maybe the Nonpareils Valentine’s Day Ball. The pink, red, and white sugar balls make this candy not only tasty, but a work of art.

 The Hershey’s Hearts may not have a cute wrapper, but the chocolate inside the simple foil wrapping is mouthwateringly delicious. The pink wrapped milk chocolate, purple dark chocolate, and gold wrapped Reese’s shaped hearts are all outstanding. The variety is just another reason to add onto the list of why these chocolate hearts are better than any other chocolate heart.

 My family had a Valentine’s Day tradition that we all looked forward to all year. The Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt. My siblings and I would wake up early with energy and excitement, probably a similar feeling to Christmas morning. My parents would write rhyming clues on heart shaped pieces of construction paper and hide them in various places around the house, in shoes, in the microwave, under pillows, behind pictures, in the piano… anywhere and everywhere.

As the years went on it became more and more difficult for our parents because we were getting older and demanding more challenging hunts and they were running out of hiding place ideas. A scavenger hunt didn’t go through without complaints of either of a clue being too easy or too hard. At the end of the scavenger hunt would be the jackpot prize: a paper lunch bag filled with treats! NECCO conversation hearts, cute chocolates like the ones in both Valentine’s Day blogs, some higher quality delicious chocolate and usually even an inedible prize like a beanie baby.

I not only give you permission to borrow my parent’s idea but I highly encourage you to use it. It made Valentine’s Day a day to actually look forward to instead of a day where you either have unmet expectations from your special someone or wish you had an intimate partner to share the day with. Enjoy the scavenger hunt, it’s the best Valentine’s Day tradition out there!

Candy Reviews, Valentine's Candy

Conversation Hearts from Brach’s, from NECCO and from the Enlarging Machine

February 1, 2010 by

Whether you prefer Brachs or Necco, one thing that everyone can agree upon is that Valentine's day wouldn't be the same without Conversation Hearts

Whether you prefer Brachs or Necco, one thing that everyone can agree upon is that Valentine’s day wouldn’t be the same without Conversation Hearts

Sharability: 10

Denture Danger: 2-7

Convenience: 10

Novelty: 10

Overall: 5

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.

Sources:

  • http://www.necco.com/OurBrands/Default.asp?BrandID=8
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweethearts_%28candy%29
  • http://www.candyfavorites.com/shop/conversation-hearts-origin.php
Candy News, Valentine's Candy

Hail Black Day : A List of Candy for the Anti-Valentine

February 12, 2007 by

anti valentines day candy

Valentine’s Day has become a commercial phenomenon. Since 1381, when Geoffrey Chaucer first recorded February 14 to be a day of recognition, this day of love has been celebrated around the globe. Its relatively unknown counterpart is Singles Awareness Day (SAD), also known as Black Day. It is a day for singles to celebrate, or un-celebrate, their independence. Just like the Emo psyche is misunderstood and overshadowed by the teen pop idols, Valentine’s Day has outshone Black Day, which is why I am taking if upon myself to list a few gift ideas for the celebrators of this day.

Black licorice – It’s not my favorite chewy candy, but what better way is there to lash out against all the red and pink surroundings?

Dark chocolate – A decadent and delicious alternative to the more common Valentine’s Day options like strawberry truffles and white chocolate.

Black M&M’s – Yes, this popular confection comes in black! What a great way to customize an everyday candy to something different and fun.

Blackberry Jelly Beans – This flavor of Jelly Belly Jelly Beans is atypical, fun, and delicious. Give a box to another single friend, or yourself!

February 14 is no longer for couples only. Happy SAD!