For food history nerds, Saveur’s got a great story detailing the background of various Easter candies, from chocolate bunnies to the iconic Peeps. Samira Kawash, author of Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure, traces the tradition of Easter sweets back to the 1800s, “when European candy-makers first started hand-crafting chocolate eggs for the holiday.” However, it wasn’t until the early 20th century that advances in mass production allowed candymakers to make novelty items for the holiday and sell them on a large scale.
A few fun facts from the story:
- The Cadbury Crème Egg was invented in 1875, and it remains a throwback to an older style of candy due to its use of plain fondant, which is almost completely obsolete in the modern sweets market.
- Jelly beans are a descendant of the Eastern European specialty Turkish delight.
- “ The original Peep was a product of the Rodda Candy Company, in Pennsylvania, where marshmallow chicks were laboriously piped by hand using a pastry bag, and then finished with painted eyes and marshmallow wings.”