Jacques Torres tells us that he recently received a letter from a lawyer for Hershey’s Chocolate telling him that the “Champagne kiss” he’s been serving for two years (a $1.50 bonbon made with pink Champagne) is an infringement of the Hershey’s Kiss copyright. But don’t think this is the product’s kiss of death — Torres is telling Hershey’s lawyers they can kiss it. “You cannot make any mistake here,” he tells us. “It’s our product, it’s our shape, and we have a reason to call it a kiss. It’s not the same price point and it’s not the same ingredients.” (The Taittinger Rosé Champagne he uses goes for $40 a bottle.)
“I don’t call it kisses — I call it kiss,” Torres continues. “And I put the word Champagne in front so there’s no misunderstanding.” Torres says he respects what Hershey’s does (“those companies do something right, because they’re worth billions and my company isn’t”), but he in no way intended to be associated with Hershey’s (“That’s not what I do!”). “They are the biggest company in America regarding chocolate and they go after the little guy,” he says. “They don’t own the world! No way am I going to give up on [the kiss] — it’s completely unfair!” Torres’s lawyer (who is prepared to defend the matter in court) has already shot back a response telling Hershey’s to kiss off.