My earliest memories of Valentine’s Day involve making mailboxes out of construction paper and stuffing Snoopy Valentine’s cards into classmates’ inboxes. After delivering our clever cartoon Valentines we’d all turn our mailboxes upside down and dump out our cards onto our desks and rummage through the mess to find the sweet treats. Lollypops, bite-sized candy bars, and mini chocolates were the Valentines we really looked forward to. But of course, there was always someone who brought in those bland, chalky, heart candies. Sure the phrases on them were cute but to a hard sugar craving kid they tasted like dust! They would follow me around wherever I went for the entire day. I would try to throw them all out in the trashcan but remnants of the powdery tarts would remain. I’d look in my pink and red decorated mailbox hoping, wishing I’d find a heart-shaped chocolate I forgot about or overlooked. But to my disappointment I’d find a pink, dusty heart staring back at me from the bottom of my bag reading “COAX ME”.
As much as I despised those grotty candies they were very much an important part of February 14th. Made by the New England Confectionery Company or NECCO, Sweethearts Conversation Hearts have been around every Valentine’s day since 1902. With classic phrases written on them like, “Kiss Me”, “Sweet Talk”, and “Be Mine” these tiny heart candies have become icons of this national day of love. Every so often Sweethearts phrases are updated to keep the tiny messages fresh. “Dig Me” was a phrase found on the Valentine’s treats in the 70s and cute but snicker-worthy phrases like “Ura Tiger” and “Purr Fect” made their way on the hearts a couple of years ago. In order to meet the demands of Valentine’s Day, 100,000 pounds of the talkative treats are produced a day. A whopping 8 billion hearts are sold during the six weeks leading to February 14th. Learn more about these chatty candies at NECCO.
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