Hershey’s Kisses are one of the most beloved candies in the history of the biz and it doesn’t take a John Hammond to see why. Everything from the name, the shape, the taste and the marketing screams “cute and delicious,” a combo whose potential for a disastrous conflict of pathos and ethos must inevitably be mastered by the logic that “as a chocolate, the kiss has no feelings, and therefore will not object to being consumed. In fact, to not do so would be to deny its raison d’etre, therefore foiling the benificent intentions of whatever kind spirit endowed the kiss with form, which is the greatest insult the inanimate can suffer.” So eat one already!
First rolling out of the Hershey compound in 1907, Kisses allegedly got their name from the sound or the motion of the chocolate being deposited in the manufacturing process. They were hand wrapped in the distinctive silver foil until 1921, when advances in automation meant this process was taken over by machines, which also began adding the flag-like Hershey’s ribbon as proof of authenticity. Since that time, production has only halted once from 1942 to 1949, due to aluminum rationing, and today over 80 million (!) Kisses are produced daily, with modern machines able to pump out approximately 1,300 a minute.
The original Kiss is a smooth, mellow and very creamy bite-sized milk chocolate. While those with highly refined palettes might consider the original variety a bit “barnyard” (and while I think they’re delicious, I do notice a kind of film in my mouth or aftertaste that suggests very high dairy content) there are literally dozens of variations. Among these, HUGS (a blend of milk and white chocolate) are pretty ubiquitous while specialties like Green Tea, New York Cheesecake, Coconut Crème, Mint Truffle, Special Dark Strawberry, Neapolitan, Pumpkin Spice and Champagne Truffle are often only regionally or seasonally available.
Still, it’s hard to beat the original for sweet, morally imperative, delicious adorability.