I love the sights of people putting up holiday decorations, and especially the treats that go along with them. I'm of the Jewish faith, so my family doesn't have the typical eggnog, gingerbread houses, ham, etc. Instead, we celebrate Hanukkah: the holiday where we have the Chanukiah (kind of like a menorah with a couple more candlesticks) and light candles for eight nights. Like Christmas, we make delicious foods for Hanukkah: latkes, sufganiyot, and, of course, gelt. You might be asking yourself, "what is gelt?" It's actually pretty simple to explain.

If you celebrated Chanukah/Hanukah/Hanukkah as a kid, you lived for this little treat. They were super addicting, like little Hershey's Kisses, except coin-shaped. And that's basically what they are: chocolate that's coin-shaped and wrapped in gold or silver foil. There's more to it than just the wrapping and chocolate, however; there's actually a lot of history behind the gelt. 

A Brief History of Gelt

Hannah Sarraf

The purpose of this tasty tradition is that the coins are used as "money" to give to kids instead of presents. Another #funfact of what gelt was used as: a long time ago in Eastern Europe, gelt was not actually used as money for kids or as chocolate. It was an end-of-the-year tip for workers. As Jews moved to towns and cities, traditions changed, and gelt is used as the treat we know and use today. 

How to Use Gelt

The reason gelt is shaped like coins is because it's supposed to be used in the game of dreidel and used like money. Dreidel is the game with the top that spins and has four letters on each side (Nun, Gimel, Hay, Sheen). It's a gambling game in which players either receive or give up coins depending on what letter the top falls on. It starts out with everyone getting the same amount of gelt with some in the middle. Every kid always wants to get a Gimel because that means they get all the gelt in the center.

On the other hand, everyone dreads getting a Sheen because that means they have to put gelt back in the middle. Additionally, Hay means you take half the gelt in the middle, and Nun means you don't take or give gelt. Though this is what gelt was made for, some people don't play the game and instead skip right to the good part: eating it. The great thing about gelt is that each chocolate is small, so you eat more without feeling sick.

What Gelt Tastes Like

Hannah Sarraf

Well, it is chocolate, so you're probably familiar with the flavor. However, the texture is a bit different. Instead of a soft, buttery feel, the chocolate coin snaps; it's more like chocolate that you chew. In this day and age, there's a huge variety of chocolates you can get, but personally I enjoy the classic gelt. 

Well, there you have it. You finally have the answer to the question, "What is Gelt?" Now when you throw a Hanukkah party, you'll be able to break out the gelt and play the Hanukkah game with your Jewish friends. If you spin the dreidel right, you may be able to land yourself a Gimel and win all the gelt (but you'll obviously split the gelt with your friends because sharing is caring).