Peppermint is one of the most iconic tastes of the holidays, nipping at us with the same frost as the winter air. We usually see peppermint in the form of candy canes during the holidays. I remember as a child, we used to eat candy canes like lollipops. We tried so hard not to bite into them because we knew that if we did, they wouldn’t last long.
Though we see candy canes as an emblem of Christmas, they were originally just made to keep kids quiet. Back in 1670, the children at achurch in Germany kept making noise during a Christmas ceremony, frustrating their choirmaster to no end. The choirmaster, having given up on discipline at this point, asked a local candy maker to make sugar sticks for the kids. If they’re busy eating candy, they can’t talk, right? Obviously giving kids candy just to shut them up doesn’t look great, so the choirmaster had the candies made to look like shepherd’s crooks. This way the kids were quiet, and he could pass the candies off as a reminder of the shepherds that visited Jesus during Christmas.
Chocolate’s another iconic holiday taste. Nothing makes you feel quite as festive as a cup of hot chocolate heaping with whipped cream. Hot chocolate itself wasn’t originally a holiday treat, though – it has its origins in Latin America, where the Mayans made a cold chocolate drink with chili peppers in it. Hot chocolate as we think of it today wasn’t invented until the 17th century. During the chill of winter, sweet hot chocolate was bound to be a success, so it’s no surprise that it became a holiday tradition.