The History of the Chocolate Mold

Chocolate Mold

One of the things we enjoy about writing this blog is that it gives us a chance to share interesting facts about the history of our industry.

We’ve looked at how fudge was created, the origins of Easter, and whether Swedish Fish actually come from Sweden. (Spoiler alert: they do.)

Today, we’re going to continue our history series, looking at the roots of two of our more popular products: milk chocolate molds.

Where do milk chocolate molds come from?

If you went back in time several hundred years ago and said the word “chocolate,” people would think you were talking about a delicacy that only existed in liquid form, and that was enjoyed primarily by the upper classes.

It was only in the 1830s that a British company – Joseph Fry and Sons – developed what was known as “eating chocolate.”

It was solid and easy to distribute, and therefore the first mass-market chocolate. This led to a revolution in chocolate making, including the creation of chocolate molds by Jean-Baptise Letang in Paris in 1832.

Unlike the elaborate milk chocolate molds we sell today, the molds were pretty plain, producing simple, small geometric shapes.

Molds go from simple to complex

But by the 1840s, the French had created a method of joining pieces of the mold together to create three-dimensional figures, such as animal shapes.

In the second half of the 1800s, Germany began to outpace France in the mold-making game, creating a vast array of complex molds. One company alone—Anton Reich, which operated for 90 years – created more than 50,000 different molds on its own.

These molds are highly prized today. A quick search through e-Bay turned up several Reich chocolate molds in the shape of everything from antique pistols to roosters to the Easter bunny. Some of these antique molds sell for under $20, but others will set you back a few thousand dollars.

Modern molds

Butterfly Mold

By the 1960s, metal molds – made from things like tin-lined copper and nickel-clad steel – were on their way out as chocolate makers began working with plastic, and therefore an entirely different manufacturing process.

It’s a method of mold making still used today. If you enjoyed, say, a chocolate bunny at Easter this year, it likely came from this kind of mold.

Plastic and metal molds competed for the industry’s attention for a few decades, but by the 1980s, plastic had won the battle, and metal molds became a part of history.

Dark and milk chocolate molds from Skips

Dinosaur Mold chocolate pop

Has reading all of this put you in the mood for chocolate in mold form? Turn to Skips Candies. We may not have the same 50,000-mold collection as Anton Reich, but we do have a wide variety of milk chocolate molds, from ballet slippers to dinosaurs to fidget spinners.

Best of all, none of them will cost you a thousand dollars. Browse our online catalog or come see us in store. We’re confident we’ll have a milk chocolate mold you’ll enjoy.

5 Things Every Nut-Free Household Needs

Boy about to eat peaanuts

There are a lot of unfortunate myths about nut allergies.

They’re over-diagnosed. They’re all in the minds of overprotective parents. They’re not that serious.

But as parents of kids with peanut or tree nut allergies – and as a maker of nut-free candy – we know better. These allergies are very real and very serious and living with them can mean making significant changes to the way your family lives.

If your child has just been diagnosed with a nut allergy, here are a few things you’ll need to make your life in your house easier and safer.

1. Medical professionals you trust

Allergy doctor testing child for allergies

One of the first things you’ll need to do is find doctors that you trust.

“Typically, a board-certified pediatric allergist is the specialist of choice to advise families and prescribe epinephrine auto-injectors,” writes Caroline Bologna in a Huffington Post piece on advice for parents of children with nut allergies.

She also spoke with parents who recommend shopping around until you find the doctor that’s the best fit for your child.

“Don’t worry about offending people because it’s your child’s safety at stake,” said Becky Bergman, founder of the Peanut Allergy Mom blog and mother of a teenage son with a peanut allergy. “If they’re not the right fit they’re not the right fit.”

2. A plan for avoiding allergic reactions

The only sure way for your child to avoid allergic reaction is to keep away from foods that trigger symptoms. It often only takes a trace of an allergen to cause a reaction.

Avoid those reactions by:

Woman reading lbel for nut safety
  • Paying close attention to food labels each time you buy food products, even ones you’ve bought before, as ingredients can change. Teach your child to read labels when they get old enough
  • Let your child’s school, friends and relatives know about the allergy diagnosis.
  • Ask about the ingredients in dishes other people make for your children.
  • Wash your hands and your child’s hands with soap and water before handling food. Prepare and serve food with clean kitchen items and on clean surfaces.

Try to focus on the foods your child can have rather than what they need to avoid. You can even try out new recipes that use safe ingredients. And thanks to the advent of nut-free candy, they can still enjoy the same sweets their peers cherish.

2. A keen eye for allergy symptoms

No matter how vigilant you are, it’s still possible that your child will be exposed to allergens. If that’s the case, you need to be able to recognize the symptoms, which include:

Child with allergic reaction
  • Rashes, hives and itching
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue and throat
  • Difficulty breathing, wheezing, shortness of breath
  • Dizziness and/or fainting
  • Stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting
  • Panicky/uneasy feelings

Your child’s doctor can provide you with a complete list of symptoms. Some allergy symptoms can be severe, leading to a potentially life threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis, which we’ll deal with in the next section.

3. A plan for dealing with anaphylaxis

Talk to your child’s doctor about how to recognize the signs of anaphylaxis and how to treat it. You can prepare yourself by:

  • Working with the doctor to create an emergency plan for dealing with anaphylaxis
  • Learn how to administer epinephrine shots to your child. This drug comes in a safe, easy to use auto-injector and is the medicine of choice for treating anaphylaxis.
  • Always make sure there are two epinephrine auto-injectors close at hand and teach the people who are with your child when you’re not there how to use them.

You may also want to get your child a medical alert bracelet to let people know about their allergy.

4. A good support system

Moms support group discussing their kids allergies

Finally, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Nut allergy diagnoses may be on the rise, but the silver lining here is that you’ll have an easier time finding other parents in your community who have been where you are.

As the Huffington Post story puts it, “A group of fellow allergy parents can help by answering questions, hearing out rants or even just being there to drink a bottle of wine and cry during hard times.”

Searching for nut-free candy options? Skip’s Candies is your source

Nut-free chocolate Butterfly pop

Since 1993, Skip’s Candies has prided itself on providing the finest candy options. We proudly provide nut-free candy to retail and wholesale customers alike.

For the last eight years, we’ve operated a dedicated nut-free facility, ensuring that the raw materials we purchase come from manufacturers who either work in nut-free facilities or have dedicated nut-free areas and/or adhere to safe handling practices.

Contact us today to learn more about our nut-free candy and our facility. We’re confident we have something everyone in your family will enjoy.

Are Swedish Fish Really from Sweden? The Origins of Some Bulk Candy Favorites

Some candies have been part of our society for so long that it’s hard to imagine a time without them. But there was an age before Swedish Fish arrived on our shores, before Sour Patch Kids tickled – and tested – our taste buds.

Read on to learn the history of some bulk candy favorites.

Continue reading Are Swedish Fish Really from Sweden? The Origins of Some Bulk Candy Favorites

Easter is Coming. Are You Stocked Up?

Marshmallow Bunnies

Easter candy is big business. Last year, Americans spent $2.6 billion on things like jelly beans, chocolate eggs and marshmallow chicks.

We expect this year will be the same, with countless parents heading to their local bulk candy store to find treats to populate their kids’ Easter baskets.

And it got us thinking: How did Easter, first and foremost a religious observance, turn into big business for candy companies?

In this blog post, we’ll look at the history of Easter and Easter candy.

Easter and Eostre

Why do we call Easter “Easter”?

Pope Gregory I

To answer that, we need to go back to the 6th century, when Pope Gregory sent a group of monks to England to convert the Britons to Christianity.

Essentially, this meant letting the early Brits keep the basics of their seasonal festivals, only with a Christian twist.

As the British magazine The Field put it, those feasts gradually became days to honor Jesus or one of the Christian saints.

One of those Anglo-Saxon feasts was the celebration of the goddess Eostre, whose feast was in the springtime, around the same times Christians marked the resurrection of Jesus. Eventually, the feast of Eostre became known as “Easter.”

Pennsylvania’s Easter connection

Although he’s not part of the Christian Easter tradition, the Easter Bunny has become a key part of Easter celebrations.

No one is sure exactly how that happened, but rabbits are an ancient symbol of life and fertility. People in Germany told stories of the “Osterhase,” a hare that lay eggs.

German kids would make nests where the Osterhase would leave his eggs. This tradition would eventually come to America in the 1700s when immigrants from Germany arrived in Pennsylvania.

As time went on, the tradition evolved. The rabbit didn’t just bring eggs, he also delivered candy and little gifts. And instead of making nests, kids began to leave out baskets, along with carrots so the bunny would have something to snack on during his deliveries.

From Easter eggs to chocolate bunnies

Sitting bunny

Eggs have been a part of Easter celebrations for decades. According to some sources, people began painting eggs during Lent, which is a time of fasting and penance. There was apparently a time when eggs were off-limits during Lent, so decorating them and eating them on Easter was a way of marking that tradition.

Easter candy doesn’t date back that far. Chocolate bunnies first emerged in Europe in the early 1800s, as chocolatiers began mass-producing bulk candy.

The first chocolate molds were made by hand in the 1830s and by the end of the century, mold-making had become an art-form, giving us everything from simple chocolate eggs to lovingly-decorated chocolate bunnies. Cadbury unveiled their Crème Egg in 1875. It remains a popular – although divisive – Easter-time treat.

Another popular Easter treat, jelly beans, date back even further, if you consider them an ancestor of the delicacy known as Turkish delight, which are believed to have first appeared in – where else? – Turkey in the 1700s.

First produced in the 1800s, they became popular during the Civil War when a Boston candy merchant named William Schrafft asked people to send the candies to Union troops.

But jelly beans would not become associated with Easter until the 1930s, perhaps due to their egg-like shape. Today, American candy makers produce 16 billion jelly beans every Easter.

Are you searching for bulk candy this Easter? Turn to Skip’s Candies, where we offer a wide range of Easter candy, from chocolate bunnies to jelly beans to peeps.

And remember that have a dedicated nut-free facility, so that people can enjoy our candy without having to worry about nut allergies. We hope your Easter celebration includes our candies this year.

Why Nut Free Options Are Important

My throat was feeling weird, but I dismissed it. Then six hours later, I couldn’t breathe. My inhaler didn’t help, and I didn’t have my EpiPen. I had to call an ambulance. It’s dangerous because you don’t know how well they clean stuff, and I usually don’t know what exactly gave me a reaction.”

That’s an allergen-sufferer named Sewa describing their life with a peanut allergy to the news website Vice in 2017.

It was a story called “We Asked People What It’s Like to Live with Deadly Food Allergies,” and as you can probably imagine, it’s not very pleasant.

No peanuts symbol

Living with allergies goes beyond – as the article puts it – just not being able to enjoy Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or Nutella in a world that treats them like the food of the gods. Being allergic to peanuts can mean facing serious – if not deadly – health consequences if you eat the wrong thing.

Food allergies – including peanut allergies – affect millions of people every year. It’s something we’re all too aware of as a maker and provider of wholesale nut-free chocolate and candy.

In this blog post, we’ll explore why nut allergies should be taken seriously and why nut-free options are important.

What are the symptoms of a peanut allergy?

Symptoms of peanut allergies include:

  • Itching or tingly in the mouth or throat
  • Hives
  • Nausea
  • Congestion or a runny nose

The most serious – but thankfully less common – symptom is anaphylaxis, a dangerous whole-body reaction to peanuts or other allergens. Symptoms include trouble breathing, swelling in the throat, dizziness or fainting, a sudden loss of blood pressure, and blue lips or pale skin.

Unless epinephrine – adrenaline – is injected right away, anaphylaxis can prove deadly.

How many kids have peanut allergies?

Peanut Allergy Growth in American Children

It’s a growing number, according to a 2017 report from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Their findings suggest that the number of children with peanut allergies in America has grown by 21 percent since 2010.

The ACAAI also concluded that 2.5 percent of all children in America may have a peanut allergy.

How can I manage my child’s peanut allergy?

Parents who have children with peanut or food allergies know that keeping them safe means more than just “stay away from that food.”

You need to stay vigilant. Here are a few ways you can make sure your child stays safe.

  • Be ready for a serious allergic reaction by keeping epinephrine injectors with you at all times and making sure you know how to use them.
  • Have your child wear a medical ID bracelet.
  • Read labels. Even a trace amount of peanuts can be deadly. Food makers are required by law to state when their product contains peanuts or other allergens.
  • Avoid cross contact at home by keeping your kitchen clean to prevent allergens from spreading.
  • Talk to your child’s school and summer camp about their allergy. Find out more about their food preparation and cleaning procedures. The same goes for restaurants.

Skip’s Candies is your source for wholesale nut-free chocolate

Chocolate Covered Marshmallows

For more than 25 years, Skip’s Candies has dedicated itself to providing the best in retial and wholesale nut-free chocolate and candies.

In 2011, we opened a dedicated nut-free facility and purchase our raw materials and finished products from manufacturers who either work in a nut-free environment or have dedicated nut-free areas and/or follow safe cleaning and handling practices. Contact us today to learn more about our retail and wholesale nut-free chocolate options.

Celebrating a Nut-Free Valentine’s Day

For most kids, Valentine’s Day at school can be fun.

It’s a time to exchange valentines, celebrate with your classmates and maybe enjoy a snack. And lately, due to the threat of peanut allergies, those snacks have tended to be nut-free.

And for good reason: Roughly eight percent of school-age kids have a peanut allergy, which manifests in most cases as itching, redness and hives. But in more serious cases, consuming nuts when you’re allergic can lead to dangerous, even fatal, allergic reactions.

All of this has led schools to keep peanuts off the menu. But that can be easier said than done when planning a party. Shopping for nut-free chocolate can be tough, as anyone who’s browsed the candy aisle can tell you.

It’s a challenge, but not an insurmountable one. Here are a few steps you can take if you’re concerned about your child being exposed to allergens at this year’s school Valentine’s Day gathering.

  • Find out ahead of time what kind of food and other refreshments will be served. Ask if treats will be exchanged and eaten in the classroom or if the teacher will be sending candy home.
  • Make sure teachers and other staff members or volunteers at the school know how to recognize an allergic reaction and respond to one.
  • Read labels! Valentine’s candy might be made in a different facility than candy of the same brand, and this presents a cross-contamination threat. If there’s no label, don’t make assumptions. It should be off limits.
  • When bringing treats to school, put a label on the dish to alert people of any allergens.
  • If the class will be exchanging little Valentine gifts, suggest trading non-food items like pencils, erasers, finger puppets or small toys.
  • You can also suggest that the students do a craft or play a game instead of using food to mark the holiday.
  • If you’re really concerned, you can always volunteer to come in and help.
  • Always keep a two-pack of epinephrine with you. Make sure it hasn’t expired.

If you’d rather avoid candy altogether, you can suggest alternatives such as:

  • Cuties or other citrus treats
  • Bananas
  • Apple slices with sunbutter (a sunflower seed-based peanut butter alternative)
  • Crackers
  • Applesauce

Of course, if you think – or your child thinks – that Valentine’s Day isn’t Valentine’s Day without candy, Skip’s can help.

We carry a wide array of nut-free chocolate and other treats packaged in a dedicated nut-free facility (and patrolled by an allergen sniffing dog).

We also carry nut-free chocolate designed specifically for Valentine’s Day, including heart-shaped pops, Cupid chocolate molds and chocolate-dipped pretzels.

Shop right here on our website or visit us at one of our stores (Peddler’s Village, and Doylestown, PA), where you’ll find the best nut-free candy for this Valentine’s Day and every other holiday on the calendar.

Where Does Fudge Come From?

There’s nothing like a good piece of fudge.

Chocolate fudge, vanilla fudge, nut-free fudge, all of it is gloriously good. You might taste it and think that it’s a work of art.

However, it would be more accurate to call it a work of science. Fudge-making, like every other kind of dessert, is all about chemistry.

The key to crafting the perfect piece of fudge lies in proper crystallization of the sugar involved. It’s the miniscule sugar crystals that provide fudge with its smooth texture. Get those crystals to come together at the precise moment, and you’ve mastered the art of fudge making.

Continue reading Where Does Fudge Come From?