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6 places to buy chocolate gelt during Hanukkah 2021

Experts explain the significance behind the chocolate coins that many enjoy during the Jewish holiday.
Gelt means “money” in Yiddish, and is often awarded to those who win a game of dreidel during Hanukkah.
Gelt means “money” in Yiddish, and is often awarded to those who win a game of dreidel during Hanukkah.Amazon ; The Good Brigade / Getty Images

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With all the gingerbread houses, candy canes and hot chocolate crowding out the holidays, it’s hard for Hanukkah treats to compete, said Joan Nathan, author of “Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Cookbook.” But something many look forward to snacking on during the eight-day holiday (Nov. 26 to Dec. 6 this year) is gelt, also known as chocolate coins.

Gelt is traditionally wrapped in gold-colored foil and is more than just a confection, according to Nathan: Gelt, which means “money” in Yiddish, is used as a currency of sorts during the holiday. It’s sometimes awarded to those who win a game of dreidel or given to children instead of real money.

Gifting chocolate in place of real money during Hanukkah was most likely a custom that originated in Europe, said Michael Laiskonis, creative director at the Institute of Culinary Education. But it was in 1920s New York City where the Loft Chocolate Company, which is no longer in business, was the first to produce and commercialize the chocolates, he said.

Gelt is usually molded from dark or milk chocolate and ranges wildly in quality, Laiskonis said. It’s wrapped in foil because the material is one of the best for packaging chocolate.

"It protects the chocolate from picking up moisture or other odors, and it doesn't impart any taste to the chocolate,” he said.

In case you’re looking to purchase gelt during Hanukkah, we’ve rounded up places where you can buy the chocolate coins online. Keeping in mind expert guidance and considering well-known retailers and shops that specialize in molded chocolate, our picks range from chocolate shops that ship nationwide to retailers like Amazon.

Divine Chocolate Coins

Laiskonis said one of his favorite gelt varieties is made by Divine, which offers milk chocolate and 70-percent dark chocolate coins. You can purchase single bags of gelt, as well as 10- and 30-packs. Plus, the chocolate is responsibly sourced, Laiskonis said.

“Divine is co-owned by the Kuapa Kokoo farmer's cooperative in Ghana, and thus ensures fair trade standards and practices,” he said.

Jacques Torres Chocolate Hanukkah Gelt

This bag of gelt from Jacques Torres contains eight chocolate coins. Each package contains four milk chocolate coins and four dark chocolate coins. These confections have earned a 4.7-star average rating on Goldbelly.

Lake Champlain Chocolates Milk Chocolate Gelt Coins

Vermont’s Lake Champlain Chocolates offers milk chocolate and dark chocolate gelt in bags that contain about 23 coins each. You can also purchase a gelt gift bag from the company. They’ve earned an average of 4.6 stars from 65 reviews on Amazon.

Li-Lac Chocolates Premium Gourmet Milk Chocolate Chanukah Gelt

New York City-based Li-Lac Chocolates offers gelt in 1-, 2- or 3-pound boxes. You can also buy chocolate dreidels or treasure chests filled with gelt. The coins are made from milk chocolate and stamped with the Star of David, a menorah or a dreidel. Each pound of chocolate is equal to about 60 coins of gelt, according to Li-Lac. The regular gelt and dreidel filled with gelt both have earned 5 stars from seven reviews on the Li-Lac website.

JoMart Chocolate Chanukah Gelt

JoMart Chocolate is based in Brooklyn and specializes in molded chocolate, including holiday items like Chanukah Lollypops and figures from a snowman to Santa. The company’s chocolate gelt is available in a bag with eight pieces or sold by the pound. The gelt is made from milk chocolate, and you can also get packs gift-wrapped.

See’s Candies Milk Chocolate Coins

See’s Candies is a beloved Bay Area institution with a loyal following all along the West Coast. It offers gelt made from milk chocolate that comes in a white mesh bag of about 16 to 20 pieces, as well as a box of about 48 pieces, but both are currently sold out. If you’re looking for a See’s alternative, the company makes regular gold coins, which are the same product as gelt — including being certified kosher — without the Hanukkah-themed packaging. They’ve earned an average of 4.7 stars from seven reviews.

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