Head to any Asian grocer over the next week or so and you will see an explosion of packets of chocolate-dipped biscuit sticks for sale. It’s all part of a big celebration that you may not even have heard of.
Pepero sticks are small, thin, pencil-shaped biscuits that are dipped in chocolate and sometimes decorated with nuts and other flavourings. They are popular all across Asia (in Japan these treats are called Pocky sticks), but especially in Korea. In fact, they are so popular there that there is a national celebration centred around them.
In Korea, November 11 is known Pepero Day. It’s a celebration a bit like Valentine’s Day, where couples and friends exchanges packets of these sweets as a demonstration of love and appreciation for each other.
The exact origins of the observance are vague. It rose to prominence in the 1980s and some stories suggest that it began when school girls swapped the snacks and wished for each other to stay thin just like the chocolate-dipped snacks. However, the event is most likely linked to the date itself. Written numerically, the eleventh day of the eleventh month looks like a row of little sticks.
Although the food companies that produce Pepero and Japanese brand Pocky are fiercely competitive about which nation originated the treats, Pepero Day is only a major commercial event in South Korea. It is reportedly the most profitable day of the year for convenience stores, and according to Consumer Report Korea, up to 30 percent of all annual Pepero sales occur within a week of Pepero Day.
From green tea through to cookies and cream, there are up to eleven varieties of the snack for sale. However, we think you will agree that these homemade macadamia ones are actually the best.
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