America is famous for producing many things, from fantastic films through entertaining sports to global music megastars like Madonna and Michael Jackson. One of the country’s best creations, however, remains relatively unsung – their range of sweets and candies. What the Americans do with sweets is nothing short of genius and, in some cases, very odd but no less delicious! The names of various American sweets have become household names thanks to TV and film and many are now available in other countries thanks to specialist importers and retailers.
Here we run down of the top 5 American chocolate sweets of all time:
5. Hershey Bar
Milton S. Hershey came up with the idea of making plain bars of milk chocolate in 1894 after seeing a chocolate making machine at the Chicago World Fair. 13 years later he invented Hershey’s Kisses, the bite-sized equivalent of the larger bar. The name, legend has it, came from the sound the chocolate machine made when extruding the chocolate during the manufacturing process! Hershey’s real success, though, cam from World War One – the US Army was their biggest client, buying 30-pound blocks of the chocolate for their troops. The soldiers continued to buy them when they returned home, so accustomed to them had they become. The Hershey bar is perhaps the most famous American sweet around the world.
Is there anyone in the civilized world who hasn’t heard of M&Ms, the chocolate that melts in your mouth, not in your hand? Widely available the world over, M&Ms were invented when Forrest Mars Sr. observed soldiers fighting in the Spanish Civil War eating coated chocolate pellets with a sugary shell, to keep them from melting. The M&M launched in 1941 and hasn’t looked back since.
3. Baby Ruth
Made from nougat and nuts the Baby Ruth is an acquired taste, for sure. The name itself has conspiracy theorists enthralled. Originally called the Kandy Kake, Otto Schnering, owner of the Curtiss Candy Corporation, renamed the bar Baby Ruth and claimed it was in honor of then President Grover Cleveland’s daughter. Cynics, however, just think it was a ploy to cash in on the popularity of baseball legend Babe Ruth!
2. Kit Kat
We’re not sure the Americans can lay claim to this particular chocolate bar as it was originally invented in England in 1935, named Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp. But that didn’t stop them ‘borrowing’ the idea and naming it the Kit Kat, a name which was then adopted in England in 1937 and has remained that way ever since. It is claimed the name comes from a famous London literary club, the Kit Kat Club. We can’t conform or deny it, so we’ll go with it since it’s a great name!
1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
These come in at number one for us because of its genius and oddity in equal measure! The idea of covering peanut butter in chocolate came from Harry Nurnett Reese, a former employee of Milton S. Hershey in 1923 but really hit the big time in the 1940s and 50s. Even more of an acquired taste than the Baby Ruth and definitely more suited to the American market, nevertheless Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups can now be bought in many countries across the world. If you haven’t tried them, give them a go – you’ll love them or hate them and as the company says, “There’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s”!
Article by: Ian Grainger
Ian Grainger is writing on behalf of American Soda, UK suppliers of American sweets.