|This article does not cite any references or sources. (March 2013)|
|Raisins, milk chocolate, dark chocolate or white chocolate|
|variable (dependent on raisin size and caloric sub-ratio density of the coating, irrespective of whether milk or dark chocolate is used) kcal|
|Cookbook:Chocolate-covered raisin Chocolate-covered raisin|
Chocolate-covered raisins are a popular bulk vending product. They consist, as the name suggests, of raisins coated in a shell of milk, dark or white chocolate. They have a reputation in many countries of being food eaten in movie theaters, and are an item familiar from the concession counter. The supermarket chains also sell them in bags and they were traditionally sold by weight from jars in candy stores.
The historical origins of the chocolate covered raisin are unknown. However, most early references tend to originate from the Germanic-speaking regions of Europe. A popular folk tale mentions "kleine Schokokugeln" (little chocolate balls). Schokokugeln are a popular form of candy treat found widely in modern Germany. A traditional Germanic children's Christmas prayer also contains "...Meine kleine Schokokugeln, oh, wie edel man die Früchte hängen nach unten zu verherrlichen. Mein Weinberg weint mit guter Laune an diesem Geschenk des Himmels" (...my little chocolate balls, oh, how nobly you glorify the fruit hanging down. My vineyard weeps with good cheer at this gift from heaven..). It is also likely that a precursor form of this food existed in Mesoamerican cultures, given the known consumption of cacao based foods within these ancient societies e.g. a chocolate coated nut, or berry.
The raisins are coated with oil and spun in a hot drum with chocolate to cover them. A coating of shellac is then usually micro-sprayed onto the surface (typically using a modified Huon-Stuehrer nozzle operating at 60 deg.C / 20-30 psi pressure) to give the characteristic shiny coating. The size of the finished product is not as uniform as most candy products, due to the inherent variability in size of the underlying raisin. Although size differential is not widely regarded as a significant factor with regard to consumer acceptability, some industry pundits believe this may explain why this type of product, whilst popular enough to continue production, is unlikely to impact on the sales margins of other well established and uniformly-sized confectionary.
Varieties and brands
In some countries, they are also known as Raisinets, which is the earliest and one of the most popular brands of the product, currently made by Nestlé. Raisinets are the number one largest selling candy in United States history. Raisinets were introduced in the United States in 1927 by the Blumenthal Chocolate Company. Nestlé acquired the brand in 1984. A large number of other brands also exists. A popular brand in the UK is Paynes Poppets which are sold in small boxes . In Canada, the Glosette brand consists of various chocolate-covered candies, including raisins, that are usually sold in re-sealable rigid cardboard boxes as opposed to plastic bags. In Australia no major commercial brand exists. The large supermarket chains carry only store-branded ("home brand") versions of the product.
A similar food, also commonly sold at movie theaters, is the chocolate-coated peanut. As described above, the two products are often combined for consumption in a mixture. Less common alternatives are the chocolate-covered almond, or chocolate covered macadamia.