Wednesday, February 13, 2008

St. Valentine's Day - Chocolate Kisses

Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate ... the favorite St. Valentine's Day candy for millions of people. Besides its sweet taste and mild stimulating effects on the body, chocolate is also widely believed to elevate moods and lifts spirits, thus ensuring its place in St. Valentine's Day lore.

In 2007, the U.S. Postal Service introduced the Love and Kisses stamp featuring a Hershey's Kiss candy, honoring the centennial of this popular candy. Even though the stamp is currently one year old, it can still be purchased from the USPS Postal Store.

Milton Hershey founded the company that bears his name in 1894. Thirteen years later, the Hershey Company began producing foil-wrapped chocolate Kisses and have been continuously producing them except for a short period when World War II rationing in the 1940s prevented their production. Hershey Kisses are sold by the millions and are available almost everywhere.

Besides the shiny foil wrapper, a distinguishing characteristic of Hershey Kisses is the tiny paper strip that extends out of the top of the candy. This item is used to differentiate a genuine Hershey's Kiss from competitors; it is called a plume and was trademarked in the mid 1920s.

There is some controversy about how the candy got its name. One school of thought says that the Kiss gets its name from the unique way that the chocolate machinery "kisses" the conveyor belt and leaves a small portion of tear-drop shaped chocolate behind. The other school of thought, and the most likely, is that the word kiss has long been used to identify small bits of candy and Hershey adopted the name.

However it got its name, one thing is certain -- chocolate kisses are a favorite treat for millions of people.

1 comment:

Joshua McGee said...

The stamps caused some controversy because of the blatant use of a commercial item as a symbol on a stamp. "The Post Office should not be in the habit of promoting specific consumer goods," the reasoning went. You (the reader) can decide which side of the fence you are on that.

Hershey, Pennsylvania has an annual chocolate fest, and there are usually pictorial cancellations created for the event. Sometimes they even use chocolate-brown ink to stamp them!

For the next one, the "Kiss" stamp won't be enough. But don't just double up! Make a combo cover with a Milton Hershey definitive! It is not widely known that Mr. Hershey was both a philanthropist, as has been honored on a U.S. postage stamp.

If you are good at drawing or painting, you could work Hershey and his Kiss into the design, and allow the brown cancellation to provide the finishing touch!