Hudson Valley consumers are finding it impossible to track down a beloved holiday treat.

There are many traditions that people enjoy this time of year. For me, I always look forward to specialty foods that I get to eat around Christmas time. One of those foods, however, seems to be missing from Hudson Valley stores this year.

For as long as I can remember, our family has always served After Eight mints between Christmas dinner and dessert. These chocolate squares are a tradition in our family and the holidays just aren't the same without them. For those who are unfamiliar with After Eights mints, these fancy confectionery treats start with a square of minty fondant. The gooey center is covered in a thin layer of rich, dark chocolate and placed in its own individual paper envelope.

Produced in the UK, After Eight mints have been distributed to the United States by Nestle since the 1970s. Since then, After Eight mints have been available in grocery stores, pharmacies and department stores to be enjoyed year-round. But this week they were nowhere to be found at many Hudson Valley stores. Stop and Shop, Price Chopper, Shoprite, Target, Wal-Mart and other stores where the mints were sold had did not have them in stock. So what happened?

Last year Nestle sold their confectionary business to the Italian company, Ferrero. Although it's unclear just which brands were involved in the sale, it appears that a majority of the company's candy is no longer being distributed by Nestle. And it seems like we're not the only ones who are confused by the change.

After reaching out to Nestle about the availability of After Eight mints we received a response telling us that the brand was sold off to Ferraro. After contacting Ferraro we heard back from Nestle explaining that After Eight mints were, indeed, still owned by Nestle. It turns out that with a much smaller lineup of candy, Nestle's distribution of After Eight mints has been lost in the mix.

The good news is that there are still a few places that seem to be carrying After Eight mints. We've confirmed that they are available locally at Adam's Fairacre Farms and Top's Friendly Market. Online, Amazon has a listing for the chocolate mints, although they are a much higher price point and delivery may not be available until after Christmas.

So, for those of you who need your After Eight mints, have no fear. They are still available in the Hudson Valley. You'll just have to look a little harder for them.

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