For most of its history, candy has been sold by weight. Early Americans could visit their local general store and pick up a pound of peppermints or nonpareils. These sweet treats were usually unwrapped, which made them relatively cheap. But as automation increased and the number of candy factories grew (there were over 400 of them in the U.S. by the middle of the 19th century), it became possible to wrap each candy individually. Of course, it did not make much sense to wrap most candy at the time, since it was so fragile. The candy bar changed all that.
Though it was more expensive than the loose or bulk variety, wrapped candy was far more convenient. It could be transported in pockets or in lunch, boxes and it would not make a mess. And because it was much larger than the early “pieces,” it made for a more satisfying snack.
The first candy bar was created in 1847 by Fry’s Chocolate Factory in Bristol, England. It took them nearly two decades to get the recipe just right, but their bars were finally ready for public consumption in 1866. Chocolate products of all kinds flourished during the last quarter of the 19th century. There were chocolate candy boxes, Easter eggs, and peanut brittle. But the original candy bar did not catch on.
It wasn’t until a company on the other side of the Atlantic took a chance on chocolate bars that the public finally embraced it. The Hershey Company introduced their first candy bar in 1900. Encouraged by strong sales of the original Hershey Bar, most chocolatiers started working on candy bars of their own. The first half of the 20th century is generally seen as the Golden Age of Candy in America, especially with regard to the candy bar.
The Health Bar, the O’Henry! Bar, the Baby Ruth, the Mounds Chocolate Bar, the Milky Way Bar, Mr. Goodbar, the Heath Bar, the Snickers Bar, and many, many more were all introduced during this period. Though our society has ostensibly become more health-conscious in recent years, candy is more popular than ever.
Americans consume nearly 3 billion pounds of chocolate each year, which is around 11 pounds for each man, woman and child. Not surprisingly, the United States is the world leader in chocolate production. Shoppers spend about 7 billion dollars on chocolate treats each year, and most of them are purchased for the holidays.
The candy bar and Christmas have never has a particularly strong association. Candy canes and loose chocolate treats are far more common during the holiday season. However, there are a few candy bars that have made the leap and have become popular holiday treats. Let us take a moment to discuss them.
Most kids count the days to Santa’s visit; and an advent calendar make the experience even sweeter. Traditional calendars have twenty-four cardboard doors that can be opened to reveal a treat and a secret message. Oftentimes, they educate kids on the history of the holiday. The most common treats found in advent calendars are miniature chocolate bars wrapped in festive holiday foil.
Perfect for stuffing a stocking or for a holiday goodie bag, chocolate miniatures are probably the most popular candy bars that are served during the winter months. Though Hershey’s miniatures lead the pack, most candy companies that make chocolate bars offer miniature bars for the holidays. They typically come in festive red, green, or silver foil.
Chocolate Thin Mints
Sweet, smooth and refreshing, chocolate thin mints have long been a favorite of holiday revelers. They are so popular during the winter months that most of the top mint makers, like Andes, produce holiday candies wrapped in green and red foil. The classic mint features a Crème de Mine green layer sandwich between two thin dark chocolate layers. The result is as tasty and as satisfying as any classic combination-chocolate and peanut butter, Oreos and milk, cheese and crackers, etc.
With the exception of the advent calendar, most holiday candy can be purchased by the pound, which often means big cost saving for consumers. There are presently a number of candy bars sellers on the internet that offer big discounts to bulk buyers during the holiday season.
Chocolate bars are a tasty and refreshing alternative to the traditional candy cane, which is ubiquitous during the holidays.