Did you know that those chalky, sugary Sweethearts candies that we all know and love around Valentine’s Day started out as lozenges?!
The candies date back to 1847 when Oliver Chase, an English immigrant living in Boston, was making lozenges by hand for apothecary shops. He rolled ropes made of sugar, gum Arabic, and medicinal ingredients, and painstakingly cut them into tablets. It was the Industrial Revolution and ideas for automation were on everyone’s minds, including Oliver who came up with his own invention - a lozenge-cutting machine that stamped sheets of sugar dough into identically sized, circular lozenges. It was also around this time that the candy business was undergoing a drastic change because of technological advances and the availability of sugar. Chase saw an opportunity and he partnered with his brother Silas Edwin to found Chase and Co., which would later become the New England Confectionary Company (Necco), and evolved his lozenges into candies known as Necco Wafers. They were sold in rolls of thin discs with eight flavours: lemon, lime, orange, clove, cinnamon, wintergreen, liquorice, and chocolate. The Chase brothers soon got the idea of printing words on their candies, which they first did by hand. Then in 1866, Silas Edwin invented a printing machine which used a felt roller pad moistened with vegetable dye to print directly onto the candies. That sped up production and in 1901, the company began producing printed heart-shaped candies that came to be called Sweethearts. In July 2018, after more than 170 years in business, Necco sadly went out of business and production stopped. The brand was sold to Spangler Candy Company but the fate of Sweethearts remained unknown until May 2020 when Spangler finally put them back into production. Looking at the history of Sweethearts is like taking a trip back in time…messages like “Fax Me” and “Dig Me” are now better understood as “Email Me” and “Be Mine”!
Here in the CrACKLES kitchen, we’ve combined two of your favourite childhood treats into one! Our crisped rice and gooey marshmallow treats shaped like Sweethearts candies, are loaded with flavour, fun, and a good dose of nostalgia. They’re sure to put a smile on your sweethearts’ faces!