Sweet eatables make the holidays go ’round

Lauren’s recipe for chocolate-dipped almond biscotti.

Alright, so Valentine’s Day isn’t exactly a holiday. But it sure as well might be one, with all the attention it gets from the public and the media. Stores will start advertising Valentine’s Day way before the date is within sight. Chocolates (and teddy bears) will be placed on sale and displayed in extravagantly decorated boxes, just begging customers to buy them. Similarly to Thanksgiving and other holiday seasons, Valentine’s Day is a widely publicized and beloved event.

In Korea and Japan, the equivalent (or one of the equivalents) of Valentine’s Day is something called “Peppero Day” if you are in Korea, or “Pocky Day” if you are in Japan. This event is observed on November 11, which was just last Friday. Written in numbers, the date becomes 11/11, which is reminiscent of the shape of these treats: bread sticks covered in chocolate. In Japan and Korea, men and women alike purchase these chocolate-coated biscuit treats to give to their lovers or to pass out among friends.

To further increase these treats’ appeal, companies specially produce the Peppero and Pocky as bigger and more exotic versions. Instead of the usual chocolate-coated or strawberry-flavored sticks, you get nutty, green tea, azuki (sweet red) bean or vanilla flavors. There are certainly also combinations of flavors available. But that’s not all: a normal stick would be slightly smaller in size and thickness than that of an average 2B pencil. On Peppero and Pocky Day, however, one can easily find treats that are long like sausages or in a completely different shape.

Personally, I was always amazed at how successful, in terms of observance and numbers of packages sold, the event was back home. Although my high school was an international school, the fact that we were in Korea kept us in close proximity to these popular Korean customs.

Friends would distribute peppero and couples would exchange enormous, bulging baskets with each other, which I personally thought was ridiculous. Or maybe I was just bitter because I never got to do that.

Whatever the case, it seems to be the case that such holidays, or major event-days, are closely tied with eatables.

The origin, purpose and current proceedings of Peppero Day all revolve around the exchanging of the chocolate-coated stick treats. And although I couldn’t get the Pocky to distribute to all, I did want to share this biscotti recipe.

Biscotti are a wonderful thing: perfectly crunchy, flavorful and adaptable to so many different recipes and preferred styles. Dip this in chocolate, and you can create your own makeshift Peppero/Pocky.
Try experimenting around with different coatings!

Lauren is a junior. Please submit any recipes you would like Lauren to try out for her next column by e-mailing her at lkim1@swarthmore.edu.

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