Hanukkah and Chocolate: A Natural Pairing!

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Chocolate Dreidels on Bleecker Street

Chocolate Hanukkah Gelt and Dreidels on Bleecker Street (December 2015)

Chocolate Dreidels Flipside

Zabar’s is doing it! Lilac Chocolates is doing it! Godiva is doing it! And, a bit surreptitiously as “Coins of the World”, Trader Joe’s is doing it! Hanukkah Gelt has made it into the cultural vernacular. According to preeminent Jewish historian Jonathan Sarna: “We’ve morphed that gelt into chocolate coins, as a kind of cultural memory.” Sarna credits the twentieth-century ascension of chocolate gelt to a cultural phenomenon of adopting new traditions and connecting them to the past. He clearly places this into the larger story that underlies Americanization:”You were able to signal that wonderful sense of being part of the larger society, and apart from it, at one and the same time,” he says. Or, as NPR correspondent Deena Prichip said in a 2014 radio essay: “Just as with chocolate bunnies or Santas, a simple treat can be a passport to this history of belonging, and ritual, and nostalgia — no matter how the chocolate tastes.”