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Champagne Kiss Controversy: Cast Your Vote, Get Some Chocolate

April 28, 2009
Jacques Torres Champagne Kisses

Jacques Torres Champagne Kisses

I’m not a huge fan of eating chocolate while sipping champagne — this decadent combo messes up the flavors of both. But I do love fine chocolate candies that get a little extra sparkle from a dose of bubbly.

French born pastry chef Jacques Torres in NYC makes all sorts of delicious candies at his Willy Wonka-esque chocolate shops in Brooklyn and Manhattan. One of the latest creations by Mr. Chocolate is the Champagne Kiss, smooth squares of imported chocolate adorned with a set of lipstick red lips.  He blends Taittinger Brut Prestige Rosé Champagne along with high quality milk and dark chocolate.

Apparently somebody in the Hershey Company’s legal department was having a very slooow day. The chocolate conglomerate sent a poison-pen letter to the chocolatier who became famous at Le Cirque telling him he might want to rename his candies something like Champagne Smooches or else! They say they’re worried that consumers might mistake Torres’ high end confections which cost $1.50 a piece for their sorta-chocolaty, silver foil-wrapped teardrops. Curiously, chocolate is the 4th ingredient in a Hershey’s Kiss according to this Official Snack Report by WASAW; the first three are sugar, milk and cocoa butter.

This graphic by the NY Post neatly explains why it would be rather challenging to mistake a Jacques Torres Champagne Kiss for one by Hershey's.

This graphic by the NY Post neatly explains why it would be rather challenging to mistake a Jacques Torres Champagne Kiss for one by the Hershey Company.

Despite the heat, Torres is refusing to melt and is fighting Hershey’s. He’s also giving away 10,000 kisses — sorry, the chocolate ones — to lucky visitors who stop by any of his three NYC chocolate shops in Dumbo, Hudson Square or the Upper West Side on April 29.

He’s also circulating a petition online, asking supporters to sign on so he can save his Champagne Kisses. In case you need help figuring out why this chocolaty contretemps matters to you, anyone signing gets a coupon for a free sample of Torres chocolates.

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