Wild honey, a forerunner to sugar
In Ancient Egypt, honey was used to make very sweet delicacies. In Roman Gaul, dried or chopped fruit was dipped in honey to make sweets.
Sugarcane, ‘sweet reed’ and ‘bamboo honey’ were also used. During a military campaign in India 2,200 years ago, one of Alexander the Great’s admiral’s described sugarcane: ‘In India, there is a reed capable of producing honey without the intervention of bees’.
Sugar at exorbitant prices
Persians began growing sugarcane as far back as 500 BC and sugar was sold at exorbitant prices throughout the Middle East. It remained a luxury for centuries, even when sugarcane was exported to the West Indies and South America to be grown as a crop in the late 15th century.
The Queen of Candy
In the 16th century, the future queen of France Catherine de Medici, introduced Italian sweets to her new homeland. At that time, Venice was a step ahead of France when it came to sweets. Confectioners and ice cream makers made the trip from Italy with her, making mouths water when they arrived at the French court.
Sugared almonds, lollipops, candied fruits and chestnuts, nougat, pralines, etc. all appeared during the 18th century.
In the 19th century, the discovery of sugar beet along with industrialisation unleashed imagination for new taste inventions.
Never-ending taste sensations!
The United States invented chewing gum and candyfloss, England imagined the ‘lolly’ as a ball of sugar on the end of a stick, Mexico came up with chili pepper candy, a speciality that didn’t make it across the Atlantic…
France witnessed many new inventions: sherbets, rolls of sweets, ball-shaped sweets, pastilles and pips… Favourite gourmet flavours were combined, textures mixed and new ones created… Now there were sweets to eat in the playground, at the office, or at any moment of the day… yumm!
The adventure continues!
What will tomorrow’s sweets be like? More ‘natural’ and surprising, or truly amazing? You’ll soon find out, Confiserie du Nord is working on it…