Did you know that on top of Valentines day and White day, Korea has ONE MORE holiday for giving sweets to someone special? Pepero day 빼빼로데이~ a holiday made for giving pepero snacks that is held every year on 11/11! Why that date? Well because it resembles the stick biscuit treat! ♥
If you are a fan of Asian snacks, chances are you have run into Pepero or something similar before at the markets! It is a Korean “remake” by Lotte of the very popular Japanese snack Pocky by Glico, but since it has been on the shelves here since around 1983 it is thought of as a beloved Korean snack by everyone here. Taste-wise it is hard for me to tell the difference honestly! ^^
Pepero Day is a holiday mainly for couples and students to exchange beautiful Pepero-themed gifts or hand out small treats to friends at school. I think it is a really sweet idea (literally) and is not very painful on the wallet since a basic box only costs 1,000 won! Students can buy one box and split it up into several smaller packets for mini gifts, or you can buy very extravagant Pepero gifts that cost 20,000 to even over 50,000!
According to wikipedia, Pepero day started on 11/11/1994 when students at a girls’ middle school in Busan exchanged boxes of Pepero as gifts with the wish to grow “as tall and slender as a Pepero” haha that sounds totally Korean for sure.
Lotte (the maker of Pepero) denies that they started this holiday themselves, but insists that they started to notice a large jump in sales for the snack every November as other schools caught on to the trend. When they discovered the reason behind it in the 90’s they wanted to encourage the holiday with special promos and gift sets which seems to expand more and more every year. Nowadays you can buy a range of items from other brands here, but Lotte still have the largest presence since they are the original.
Regardless of how it got started it seems to get bigger and bigger every year, now Lotte makes almost 50% of their Pepero business in November thanks to this holiday!
Pepero has a normal box design that they tend to use throughout the year, but around Pepero day 빼빼로데이 they roll out this box style which is colored a bit differently! At first I was not sure why they would change the box just because of the holiday, but I am pretty sure now that they reasoning is to make it a little more elegant-looking + the colored edges also allow you to use them in making shapes with the boxes…
Like so!! This is something I love about pepero day, these awesome sculptures made of of boxes to give as gifts pop up all over the shops! They have many designs~ hearts, flowers, houses, boxes that can contain another gift inside, boxes spelling out L-O-V-E, etc! Some people make them at home, but you can also buy them pre-made for a price from the shops now~ the box art above ran around 32,000 (so 1,000 per box)
Just like with all the other major gift holidays here, you will see special gift tents pop up all around the city 3 weeks or so before the date.
Almost every mini stop in Korea is stuffed full with Pepero boxes in November! My local shop had jumbo boxes (which are actually filled with several small boxes, not large versions of the snack!), individual boxes, and you could even buy them in bulk!
Grocery and stationary stores also take part and set up displays with gifts you can buy.
A large amount of the sets sold are special boxes by Lotte for the date and simply have XX amount of pepero boxes within the case, however recently they have started to sell a few limited edition flavors in these gift sets like chocolate biscuit or dipped caramel versions.
Pretty Pepero shapes on sale at E-mart!
This year they had a line of Hello Kitty pepero and Rilakkuma!
Stationary stores in Korea sell extremely pretty versions of similar biscuit snacks along with special gift packaging that is the perfect size for Pepero~ however the taste of these is often not very good 😛
Really cute gift that was actually a pencil case filled with pepero sticks~ nice idea!
Some shops also had pre-packed kits for you to make your own, which I think is WAY cuter.
I also noticed a lot of photos like this on Naver blogs recently, money rolled up and placed in the box instead of the treats. These seem to always be from Husbands for Pepero day when I read the blog comments, but I don’t know of anyone personally that has given a gift like this~ must be a new little thing some couples do.
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Cute idea for maybe a parent to gift a kid, but painfully lazy boyfriend… I would be kinda pissed if I just got some money from Nara! Would you? The charm of the holiday is its cute simplicity….
For Koreans that are sick of Pepero~ how about cute Pepero-themed cookies?! ♥
Or Pepero cake! I want to try making these sometime!
Pepero hearts holding ferrero rocher chocolates in the center!
Korean’s really seem to love ferrero rocher… around Valentines Day you see piles of them *_* guess it is no surprise that they would roll them out for pepero day too lol
Extra snack-tastic gift boxes on sale at the stationary shops!
You can also buy a range of pretty decorated sticks, but they cost a lot so why not just DIY?
Let’s make some cute Pepero for gifts!!
This year I decided I wanted to make my own deco pepero gifts to give out because just handing out boxes was too easy and the nicer ones are expensive, but taste gross! In Japan they actually have really cute examples of how to do this because some girls give deco pocky for Valentines day~ so I was able to look up some really good inspiration^^
To get supplies for my pretty pepero I had to pay a visit to Bangsan Market, which is the huge cooking supply market here in Seoul around Namdaemun. They have a few shops that are just for crafting pretty treats and gifting them, so they had tables filled with things I could use and special bags + boxes to package them in! I think I spent about 20,000 won on supplies, generally everything was 1,000 each! They also had tons of choices for plain biscuits to decorate, so I got a baggy of short chubby blank ones as well as a few boxes of normal Pepero.
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I will feature Bangsan market and give you guys directions in a future post!
I also had grabbed some cute Daiso things to try ♥
and to my excitement, Bangsan Market had tons of chocolate molds with Korean phrases on them!! I bought a bunch because I can always use these for something 😀
Looking extra pretty while I decorate in my pajamas haha!
Decorating individual pepero sticks is extremely easy! I think the trick is to just relax and have fun with it.
the trick is to just go quickly and not think about it too much!
The Korean chocolate molds worked really well! It is a little tedious to get the colors inside the writing part (you have to do it quickly with a toothpick) but the result is very cute ♥
Nara was over because he wanted to make some things as well! He had fun making large chocolate characters ♥ couple craft-time! He also acted as lookout to make sure Milk (our Kitty) did not get into anything *_*
One idea I got from the examples online was to stick 6-7 pepero together to make a cookie deco bar of sorts! You can stick them together with chocolate one by one, but I found it was easier to just lay them flat together and pipe the chocolate in-between each quickly in a matching color~ works just as well and you can always flip it to the other side to decorate if it is to sloppy-looking for ya! Finish off with pretty details and a chocolate!
The molds I bought made chocolate pops with Pepero as the stick! You have to pop them out carefully, but it worked nicely!!
I bought a lot of cookie crumbs to make some larger goodies as well ^^ they sell a bunch of flavored kinds here in Korea so I bought a rainbow pack and oreo-type flavor.
After I had a bunch, I picked my favorites and placed one large piece plus several smaller individual deco peperos into the special gift box I had purchased! I also made sure to cut some pretty wrapping paper and fold + tape it down to the bottom, it made the box look a lot nicer + deco tape
Here are some of the Pepero “bars” I made!
and some of the shorter ones I made with the plain sticks I purchased!
and these are decorated box pepero~ fast and easy!
Packed up and ready to give out as gifts! The quantity of treats is less vs just buying a box off the shelf, but I think these look a lot cuter and are a bit more special!
And here is Nara’s finished gift!!! He wanted to eat it right away hahaha!! I also gave him a few to give to his friends at work and family ♥
as for my gift, it arrived on my doorstep the following morning! It was a huge long box, Milk was extremely excited to play with his new toy lol
Aw he sent me a GIANT pepero plush bear!! It is so soft and long, I can use it as a body pillow 😀 or beat an attacker senseless! Hurrah!
And here is my gift to you guys~ I hope you enjoy it ㅋㅋㅋㅋ
Making these was extremely easy and really the cost was quite low, now I have the chocolate molds so next year I can make piles if I want for almost nothing. If you live by any kind of Asian market, chances are they sell pepero so you should give this a try!!
Have you celebrated Pepero day 빼빼로데이 before? What did you give or get? Have you make deco Pepero before or plan on making some now that you read this post? Comment below!