National Chocolate Fish Day in New Zealand Date in the current year: May 10, 2024

National Chocolate Fish Day in New Zealand National Chocolate Fish Day is celebrated on May 10 in honor of a beloved Kiwi confectionery item that is traditionally associated with a job done well.

A chocolate fish, also affectionately referred to as choccy fish, is a confectionery item that is popular in New Zealand. It is a fish-shaped candy that consists of pink or white marshmallow covered in a very thin layer of milk chocolate, which technically makes it marshmallow fish. Chocolate fish are usually 5 to 8 centimeters long. “Fun-sized” variants are also available; these smaller variants are colloquially referred to as “sprats”.

The history of chocolate fish is somewhat murky, but the confection seems to have been around since the early 20th century: there is a mention of chocolate fish in an ad published in a 1903 issue of The Auckland Star. However, it is unclear whether those early varieties included marshmallow. By 1937, marshmallow-based chocolate fish were being produced in Dunedin.

Today, chocolate fish is produced by several New Zealand manufacturers, but the market is dominated by Cadbury’s chocolate fish covered in a thin layer of wavy chocolate that resembles scales. This effect is achieved by an air blast on the chocolate before it sets. The beloved confection is a staple at convenience stores (known as dairies in New Zealand) and gas stations.

In New Zealand culture, chocolate fish are widely associated with a job done well because they are a common reward for various accomplishments. The first known mention of chocolate fish being used as a reward can be found in a 1933 issue of The Evening Post, reporting 20 dancers being presented with a large chocolate fish. Over time, chocolate fish have become a symbol of token reward (“Give that kid a chocolate fish” or “He/she/they deserve a chocolate fish”).

Chocolate fish are so iconic that they inspired another popular Kiwi confection, pineapple lumps (or pineapple chunks). In the 1950s, confectionery chief and production manager at Regina Confectionery Factory, Charles Diver, noticed that the production of pineapple-flavored chocolate fish resulted in the most marshmallow left over. He decided to utilize the leftovers by coating them in chocolate and marketing the product as pineapple chunks. In the early 1960s, it was renamed pineapple lumps.

Chocolate fish are considered part of Kiwiana, a range of iconic New Zealand items that represent the country’s culture and heritage, alongside other food items such as the Afghan biscuit, the Anzac biscuit, Chesdale cheese, fish and chips, the McDonalds’ Kiwiburger, Kiwi onion dip, Pavlova, and many others.

It is unclear who and when came up with the idea of National Chocolate Fish Day and why it is observed on May 10, but this beloved treat surely deserves its own holiday. The best way to celebrate this Kiwi icon is to eat a delicious chocolate fish and then buy some more to give your friends and loved ones. And don’t forget to spread the word about the holiday and encourage others to indulge by posting on social media with the hashtag #NationalChocolateFishDay.

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National Chocolate Fish Day in New Zealand, food days, unofficial holidays, holidays in New Zealand, chocolate fish