c1990: The Time We Created Hedgehogs, Yaaas

July 26, 2017
c1990: The Time We Created Hedgehogs, Yaaas

As part of our 110th birthday celebration, we’re taking a look back at some historical (and historic!) moments in our Purdys timeline.

The internet has dubbed the 90s as the best decade ever.

Probably because it was the decade when we created Hedgehogs.

You can spot Hedgehogs in any Purdys shop by their distinctive box: a golden glorious triangle. We asked Brenda, who’s been with Purdys since 1985 (around the time we introduced an Original), about the design:

“I worked together with Mr. Flavelle and the marketing manager at the time on the box itself and the Hedgehog logo. The idea was to have something stand out from the standard rectangular gift boxes. I remember getting really excited about the triangle idea when we talked about it. We knew we had a really great concept there.”

The Hedgehog box definitely stands out—but so do the Hedgehogs.

Each shell is creamy milk chocolate, made with sustainable cocoa. (At Christmas, Santa brings dark chocolate Mini Hedgehogs with him. Want to know when they’re coming this year? Get on our email list.)

At the heart of each Hedgehog is a special hazelnut gianduja (pronounced jan-DOO-yah).

Gianduja is made with finely milled hazelnuts, cocoa powder, cocoa butter and sugar. It was invented during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte (1804-1815) in the city of Turin, in the Piedmont region of Italy.

Cocoa was scarce during Napoleonic times, suffering from both high prices and supply issues.

So chocolate makers in Turin got creative and added a local tree nut to the cocoa they had: the hazelnut, which grows in abundance in that region even today.

In 1865 at the Turin Carnival, local chocolate company Caffarel had the Carnival’s favourite character, Gianduja, hand out these hazelnut chocolates (wrapped in foil) to carnival goers. And the name stuck.

Hedgehogs aren’t the only chocolates at Purdys that feature gianduja. There’s the Salted Hazelnut Flake. And Turona, named after a 16th century Spanish confection. And the Coffee Crunch Mayan, the Peanut Butter Crunch Mayan and the Almond Butter Mayan, which you can find in our Favourites or Classics gift boxes or you can request a custom pack of all Mayan chocolates (just leave a note at checkout!).

And now, for our last time-travel trip, we’re heading to 2014, when we switched to sustainable cocoa.