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Curious about "non-pareils"

wyf4lyf Dec 26, 2006 08:37 PM

We were given a gift basket with many kinds of chocolates, and one of the boxes was for "non-pareils." I've seen these before, but have never understood the name. I looked up "pareils" which means "similar" in French...so the candy is "not similar" to regular candy? Is that the origin? Does anyone know? I guess it's the little white candy balls all over the chocolate that makes it "not similar"??

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    dubedo RE: wyf4lyf Dec 26, 2006 08:44 PM

    *Close* - "nonpareil" = "no equal" as in "having no equal". So, in non-candy parlance, something that is nonpareil has no equal - there's "nothin' better" as we say in the South. Why are these little chocolates with white sprinkles (or just the white spheres) peerless? No idea, although they are tasty, but wikipedia has an idea: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonpareils .

    1. mnosyne RE: wyf4lyf Dec 26, 2006 08:45 PM

      I think the actual meaning is 'without parallel" in that context.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mnosyne
        Non Cognomina RE: mnosyne Dec 27, 2006 04:05 AM

        PoTAto, PoTAHto.

      2. frenetica RE: wyf4lyf Dec 26, 2006 11:45 PM

        Funny. I speak French, and had always assumed they were called that because they're tiny and no two are alike. You get nonpareil capers, too, which are a similar size and shape.

        1. Candy RE: wyf4lyf Dec 27, 2006 12:14 AM

          I always translated it to be "incomparable". Of course depending on quality of chocolate and maker they certainly can be comparable or even bettered.

          1. Das Ubergeek RE: wyf4lyf Dec 27, 2006 03:55 PM

            Well, technically "without equal" would be "sans pareil" or "aucun pareil", but I've always assumed that it was just a linguistic blip. It COULD be that no two were alike... I don't know.

            The little things on the top, though, are hundreds and thousands.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Das Ubergeek
              Chuckles the Clone RE: Das Ubergeek Dec 28, 2006 04:20 AM

              But wait, aren't the things on top themselves called "nonpareils" ???
              So the chocolate candies are some sort of gustatory synechdoche?

              1. re: Chuckles the Clone
                Das Ubergeek RE: Chuckles the Clone Dec 28, 2006 04:31 AM

                You get some kind of award for sneaking the word "synecdoche", but I know "nonpareils" as the chocolate rounds plus the hundreds and thousands.

            2. mnosyne RE: wyf4lyf Dec 27, 2006 04:26 PM

              When I was a kid in Chicago, these candies were a big part of the Saturday movie-going experience. We called them "Non Parry-Ells", and loved the feeling of the little candy ballbearings on our tongues.

              1. Karl S RE: wyf4lyf Dec 29, 2006 05:31 PM

                It is indeed the little balls that provide the name. These are chocolates decorated with non-pareils. Non-pareils are tiny sugar balls, commonly used to decorate cookies, cakes and, yes, candy.

                1. prunefeet RE: wyf4lyf Dec 29, 2006 05:35 PM

                  I always wondered about this too, thanks for asking.

                  1. m
                    marlie202 RE: wyf4lyf Dec 29, 2006 08:31 PM

                    I used to eat these when I was a child-they were sold in Brooklyn-came in a little box--a small round piece of dark chocolate with little white round balls-(candy balls) on top..
                    very tasty--years passed and they were made bigger and sold by the pound in confectionary stores-glad to hear they are still around in whatever version..

                    1. hotoynoodle RE: wyf4lyf Dec 31, 2006 06:12 PM

                      at the movies, those little sno-caps are awesome mixed in with your popcorn. guilty secret snack in the dark!

                      1. s
                        Sara T. RE: wyf4lyf Dec 31, 2006 06:14 PM

                        I love those candies! Raisinetts are also good mixed in with your popcorn, yum.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Sara T.
                          hotoynoodle RE: Sara T. Dec 31, 2006 06:25 PM


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