It’s almost Valentine’s day and the perfect time to indulge in some sweet treats. Although most wait till after the international day of love to indulge in half-priced candy and chocolate, I thought it would be fun to look back and see what Valentine’s day treats are still available and of course, put them to the test with a cheeky sampling here and there. Living in Australia, I found it very difficult to be able to find most of this confectionary locally or online at a reasonable price. I wasn’t about to find samples of all of the confectionary listed below so I do apologise for that but maybe one day we can do something similar. I’m hoping to return to America after the pandemic where I can stock up on various items there.
This was the most common Valentines day confectionary I found whilst researching with adverts of all kinds. Generally, the main item advertised was the sampler box which you can still find today; I found mine at my local Big W. Whitman’s confectionary started in 1845 and is still one of the largest chocolate brands around today. The Sampler was introduced in 1912 and skyrocketed to popularity during World War II as boxes were sent to servicemen and their darlings back home. This caused the chocolate to thrive in pop culture as it was mentioned and shown in various tv shows, films and other media such as books and novels.
I need to be honest and say I’m not that crazy about chocolate in general and am more of a cake/pastry kind of gal as opposed to just chomping through a box of chocolates. However, the chocolate came in the classic cross stitch pattered box (originally inspired by grandmothers all around), and there was quite the variety (funny that, it’s a Sampler Mon… that should be pretty obvious). The chocolate was smooth, sweet and some of the fillings were delightful with caramel and nuts inside. Yum!
Originally started in 1904, Brach’s chocolate is still available in most parts of the US today and is famous for it’s conversational hearts, candy corn and chocolate stars. In 2012, the company merged with the Ferrara Pan Candy Company and formed the Ferrara Candy Company. Brach is well known for starting the ‘Pick-A-Mix’ concept when it comes to confectionary and it allowed customers to choose from a wide variety of sweets and then paying per pound. Today’s, Brach’s is well known for releasing special conversational hearts around Valentines day and even offers alphabet letter hearts and emoji hearts.
I was unable to get a sampling of Brach’s chocolates or their conversation hearts due to a tight budget for this post. I also wasn’t brave to buy chocolate form the United States and have them shipped to Australia during our summer. I’m sure one day I will find some and give them a go but it’s not today. I also wasn’t able to find a small bag of their conversational hearts and don’t really think I could eat a two pound bag but maybe I can turn it into a craft project for next year if I go ahead with it.
The famous Schrafft’s neon sign is now a significant landmark in Boston even if the original factory built in 1928 is now used for business accomodation. Originally founded in 1861, the company grew to open many stored over America including nine in Manhattan, one in Brooklyn and Syracuse, New York and a facility in Boston by 1915. Notably in the companies history, Schrafft’s sponsored the 1959 CBS telecasts of The Wizard of Oz.
Although the chocolate is difficult to find in the United States, it’s been reported that homeports of South America still make it although it is debated to be a different company all together. I thought I’d include Schrafft’s to the list just incase and besides, the adverts are very cute.
Yay! A confectionary I can buy at the local grocery/convenient store! The Milky Way chocolate bar is manufactured and marketed by the Mars Confectionary Company however, there are two variations to the chocolate bar depending on where in the world it is purchased. Within the United States, the bar has a caramel topping layer and a whipped nougat centre that’s considerably lighter than that of the bar sold outside the United States. Countries outside the United States sell a version without any caramel and just the nougat. The chocolate bar was introduced to the United States in 1924 and then to the UK in 1935 before becoming one of the most popular chocolate bars of all time.
The bar varies to this day depending on where it is purchased; for example, despite being originally available with a chocolate nougat centre in Europe, it was eventually switched to a vanilla flavour in 1993. However, in Australia, the chocolate flavour is still available. The bar has also been released in flavours such as banana, strawberry and mango.
The adverts below are the American Milky Way as you can see the caramel. Notably, the American packaging (now a brown background with green text) is different to the Milky Way’s sold outside the US with their blue and white packaging.
I was surprised to learn all the variations of the Milky Way chocolate bar around the world. Living in Australia, my version has chocolate nougat and seeing as Milky Way was always a chocolate Bar I enjoyed, I found it delicious, light and very sweet.
Moving away from chocolate, we turn to Pez, something I think we all recognise from our childhood. The name PEZ is an abbreviation of PfeffErminZ which is German for peppermint. Originally invented in 1927, Pez is an Austrian candy well known for it’s colourful and unique manual candy dispensers. The candy itself is pressed into straight edged, curved cornered blocks measuring 15mm long, 8mm wide and 5mm high and each dispenser was designed to hold 12 pieces of candy. In 1952, the candy was introduced to the United States and in 1955m the company decided to place cartoon heads on the dispensers and market them to children. The first character produced included Popeye, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Santa Clause and since 19550, over 1500 unique dispensers and characters have been created.
Despite the widespread recognition and popularity of the Pez dispensers, the company always considered itself to be a candy company above anything else and over 3 billion candies are eaten in the US alone each year. The uniqueness of the Pez dispensers make them very collectable and certain designs and characters were very sought after. For certain celebrations and holidays, unique dispensers were released including the advert below where customers could get a personalised Valentine dispenser. Later on, a Valentine dispenser was released with a heart and a Valentines message was printed on it.
I was able to find Pez at my local store and was excited to choose from the range of characters. I plan on giving my Pez to my niece and nephew so I chose a character they would hopefully both enjoy. I remember eating Pez as a child and not being that fussed by it and I had the same feeling when trying it again as an adult. It’s not the best candy but it’s fine for a little sugary hit.
Not technically a confectionary but it is sweet and something I can actually taste test so here it is in the list anyway (plus have you see that pink dress with the hearts in the advert below?! Oh my gosh I love it!). The Coca-Cola Company began in 1886 and was originally marketed as a temperance drink and intended as patent medicine. The name, Coca-Cola, refers to it’s two original ingredients; coca leaves, and kola nuts (caffein source). Today, the current recipe of Coke remains a trade secret despite a variety of reported recipes and experimental recreations being published.
Everyone knows Coke; their iconic red colour, the text and even their holiday campaigns are some of the most recognisable symbols in the advertising world. Although the original formula has changed time and time again, it still remains one of the top carbonated beverages worldwide. I find these adverts featuring happy couples sharing a coke, closely linked to the current Coke campaign (at least in Australia) where Coke is printing names and nicknames on cans asking people to share a Coke with [Insert the name on the coke can you purchased here].
It was super easy to find some Coke to test out and although I’m not a huge carbonated beverage person (wow, this blog is really making me look fussy and pathetic), it tastes just like how I remember it and my partner happily finished off the rest of the can for me. I can see how sharing a Coke (pre-Covid) would have been cute, sort of like the stereotypical kids sharing a milkshake trope.
Heinz Tomato Sauce/Ketchup
Although it’s not candy or chocolate, I thought some Valentines adverts were still gloriously cheesy but also featured items you can easily buy today. Take this one from Heinz Tomato Ketchup for example. Originally introduced in 1876, Heinz Tomato Ketchup still holds 80% of the market share in Europe and 60% in the United States when it comes to tomato condiments. Marketed today as “America’s Favourite Ketchup”, it is used as a condiment for foods such as hot chips, hamburgers and hot dogs. Since 2012, there are more than 650 million bottles of Heinz Tomato Ketchup being sold every year throughout the world.
Okay I have to be honest, I will eat a lot of weird and wonderful foods, but I cannot stomach tomato sauce and I’ve never been able to eat it even as a kid. I can’t stand it so much that even the smell makes me wretch and gag violently; if I need to add it to food as part of a recipe, I will get my partner to do it and I’ll leave the kitchen because I find the smell so repulsive. Yes I know it sounds super dramatic but I’m guessing most people have tried tomato sauce/ketchup so don’t make me eat it. I’m sorry, but no thank you.
Let’s begin this by saying I do not condone or support smoking of any kind. It’s gross, smells bad and extremely bad for your health but part of running a vintage blog is looking at some questionable vintage habits and behaviours, one of the most common being smoking. Whilst searching for adverts online, it was the ladies hat that caught my attention, it’s fabulous on many levels and I want to make my own version but then I realised what the ad was for and sure enough, you can still get Chesterfield cigarettes today. The company began in 1873 and is a blend of Turkish and Virginia tobacco. In 1898, the company was acquired by the American Tobacco company who manufactured Chesterfields until 1911 before it was taken over by Ligget and Myers, and then later acquired by Philip Morris in 1999.
Chesterfield is still being made and sold today in Europe with it’s unique extra wrapper layer which supposedly helps control moisture. Chesterfields are no longer being sold in the US and have been absent from marketing and adverts for many years.
No I will not be trying a cigarette, end of discussion.
Originally, this blog was designed to be released last year and although I don’t remember why it couldn’t get released in time, I’m glad it’s out and free into cyberspace land now. I’m sad I didn’t realised how expensive some of the shipping prices for a single candy could be so maybe in the future we will have a bigger budget. I had a lot of fun researching these items and although I strayed from the original confectionary concept, I hope you found these adverts interesting nonetheless. I’m always surprised just how old some companies are which goes to show how one good idea can stick around for quite a while especially in the case of a company such as Coke which I don’t see vanishing anytime soon.
I hope you are enjoying my Valentine themed blogs and are excited for the holiday of love. Even if you are single, spend the day with a friend and share the love that way. See you in the next post!
Note: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions and thoughts expressed are solely my own and not influenced in any way.