Chocolate sprinkles

09 May

When, in 1935, an inventor named Gerard de Vries received a letter, no one could possibly foresee that a decade-long rivalry started. The rivals? Americans and Europeans. Their battlefield? The confectionery industry. The stake? Paternity of the chocolate sprinkles. Almost at the same time, in the middle of the‘30s, on both sides of the Atlantic emerged this idea of a new sweet: a cylinder of chocolate or sugar, too small to be eaten alone but very suitable to be “sprinkled”, in large numbers, over a variety of desserts: cakes, doughnuts, ice cream, cookies, yoghurts, any kind of toppings. But there are some cultures that take sprinkles more “seriously”, using them as bread toppings or even for sandwiches: in New Zeeland, children are fond of a treat called “fairy bread”, which is nothing else but bread and butter, with a teaspoon of chocolate sprinkles stuck on it. All has begun (in the European’s version of the story) with Gerard de Vries opening a letter, back in 1935; in that letter, a young boy (his name is lost, unfortunately) was asking the famous inventor to produce a new bread topping: chocolate bread topping. On the spot, de Vries seized the potential of idea and worked hard to put it in practice. After many experiences and failures, he finally designed a machine that could produce those tiny cylindrical pieces of chocolate needed for topping bread. But not even he grasped immediately the huge range of applications of the new invention, considering bread and cakes the main products whose topping could be sprinkled. Luckily, he was wrong and chocolate sprinkles are now everywhere on our desserts, their usage limited only by our imagination. If we cross now the Atlantic we are told a different story, a purely American one. It goes like that: born in the very heart of American businesses, Sam Born, newyorker by blood and spirit, was the first who invented chocolate sprinkles and used them to add flavor and aspect to the candies he made (he was a confectioner, not an inventor). He called his sprinkles “jimmies” and insisted on spreading this name… even if his success as a name makes is now questionable. Of course, in this contest for paternity, many others have “registered” since, each one with his own arguments and naming: in France, sprinkles are called “nonpareils”, and this name is also used in US, at least in some parts of it; in Italy, “confetti” are common and very well-known and long time used, so the Italians claim that they are the true inventor of this product. Another name for sprinkles is “hundreds-and-thousands”, which seems special not only for creativity, but also for its “global” touch. Speaking of creativity: in the ’80, when a poor country like Romania tried to copy any product without importing it, the customers were lured with so-called “cip” candies. Nobody can tell how much chocolate contained sprinkles imitations, but in regard of taste, they were indeed… cheap! More detail about chocolate sprinkles here

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Posted by on May 9, 2013 in Comunicate


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