Why Can’t All Money be Chocolate?

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History of Chocolate Coins

Et tu Caesar?

Chocolate coins have a long history as gifts. It is rumored that they first appeared in the time of Caesar and were created to honor him.  Bearing Caesar’s image, they were given as gifts to men and women of the Roman court.  Purported to have been wrapped in thin sheets of gold, the wrapper itself was probably the greater gift to the recipient.

The 20th century is the start of the current customs using the foil-wrapped coins we know today.  They are usually given to children on holidays around the world.  They are typically wrapped in gold foil and are imprinted with ancient-looking coin designs.

Happy Hanukkah

These chocolate coins are a very important part of the Jewish Hanukkah celebrations. These chocolate coins are called “gelt,” which means money.  The candy companies that produced the first chocolate Hanukkah “gelt” may have been inspired by the chocolate coins given to children as part of the St. Nicholas holiday in Belgium and the Netherlands (geld, spelled with a d, being the Dutch word for money).  Sometimes “gelt” can be real coins in places where people are not accustomed to chocolate coins.

The Details

Each of these chocolate coins should look like a real one. It should have a head and a tail side.   Of course it should be stamped too. Chocolate coins today are usually sold in net bags.  You can find them in drug stores, grocery stores, high-end chocolatiers and other places where tasty and delicious chocolate is sold.  They are also available online through many candy vendors specializing in novelty candy.

The price will reflect the quality of the chocolate inside.  Buyers beware!  Not all chocolate coins are made from chocolate!  Many substitute vegetable fats for cocoa butter.  When that happens, your ‘chocolate’ coin becomes chocolate-flavored candy and the inexpensive price will reflect that quality.  Be informed about your chocolate.  And it’s okay to be a snob!

Let’s Go Shopping

The following is a quick trip around the world of higher-quality chocolate coins.

Lake Champlain Chocolates, the well-known Vermont chocolatier, offers a variety of Belgian chocolate coins. They offer seasonal foil colors and a choice of chocolate—milk, dark or mixed packages.

http://www.lakechamplainchocolates.com

For a totally custom chocolate coin, take a look at Foiled Again Chocolate.  Made with Callebaut chocolate, these coins can be customized in 17 colors and over 1,500 designs.  Minimum order requirements apply.

http://www.foiledagainchocolate.com

For bulk chocolate coins in a variety of sizes and quantities, Honest Foods might be a good choice.  Again using Belgian chocolate, they do not offer any customization, but if you are looking for a large amount of coins for an event or party, this would be a great choice.

http://www.honestfoods.com

photo courtesy of flickr.com

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