Every year my Aunt gets our whole family chocolate letters for Christmas. Since the closing of the Dutch shop in Rochester, they have been harder and harder to find.
Chocolate letters are a Dutch tradition (my mom's maiden name is Van Hooydonk and my great grandparents came over from Holland) and are associated with Sinterklaas. Pictured is an an example of a contemporary chocolate letter from Droste as well as a depiction in a 17th century still-life painting.
Below is the definition from wikipedia, but you can read much more at the Saint Nicolas Center or if you know Dutch, at chocolateletter.net. Apparently, I ought to look to www.chocolatelettershop.com next year to stock up!
Happy holidays all!
Celebrants of the Sinterklaas celebration are traditionally given their initials (or occasionally the neutral letter S (for Sinterklaas) or P (for Zwarte Piet) made out of chocolate. Various sizes, types and flavours are available.Flickr image above from here
In order to use the same amount of chocolate for each letter the manufacturer varies the thickness or the depth of the grooves in the letter. This way one letter is not favoured over another, for example the W, or the M over the I or the J. An often used typeface is Egyptienne.
Painting above is from here. Still life with Letter Pastries, Peter Binoit, ca. 1615, Museum Amstelkring on loan from the Groninger Museum Photo: C Myers (click for a close up)