There are countless symbols of the holidays, but naturally, our favorite is chocolate. For years, Hanukkah celebrations have featured a particularly symbolic kind of treat: chocolate gelt.
If you’re not familiar with this shiny tradition, gelt comes in the form of gold foil-wrapped coins, typically given to kids and won—or lost!—during games of dreidel. As you might have guessed, this tradition started early on as actual gold coins, which evolved into (admittedly mediocre-quality) chocolate over time. In Eastern Europe, people often give gold coins for tips to service workers, teachers, and other deserving hands around the holidays. In fact, these tips may have originated as financial support to those that could not afford Hanukkah candles, an incredibly important part of this religious observation.
Going back further in history to the time of the Maccabees, the newly independent people of Judea received the privilege of minting their own coin in 142 BCE. Those coins typically depicted a cornucopia to symbolize the abundance of their state. Today, chocolate gelt often has a menorah imprinted in the foil to more closely tie it to Hanukkah celebrations.
Even if you don't have gelt on hand, consider gifting a kosher chocolate, like the Theo Chocolate 45% Milk Chocolate Bar or the jcoco Cayenne Veracruz Orange. Here's to a happy Hanukkah and a delicious new year.