A Sweet History

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Sweet shops have been long time favorites among consumers. From the young to the old, the sweet stores have brought smiles and fond memories to many who have visited them.  Candies can be chewy and soft or brittle and hard but all candy is made by dissolving sugar in milk or water to create syrup that is then boiled. Ingredients and boiling time determine the type of candy created and the concentration of sugar determines the texture. Consumers enjoy caramels, fudge, toffee, lollipops, gumdrops, chocolate-coated fruits and nuts, and more.

Ancient Chinese, Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, and Middle Easterners coated flowers and fruits with honey to create candy.  From there candy originated as medicine used to provide relief from a sore throat or to calm an upset stomach.  In the Middle Ages, only the wealthy were able to afford candy.  These treats were a combination of sugar and spices that were meant to aid in digestive issues caused by unbalanced diets and eating food that was not fresh.

In the 1500s, Christopher Columbus returned home from his 4th voyage to the Americas, bring with him the bittersweet chocolate treat.  It was not until the 18th century that candy was introduced to the Americas from France and Britain.  A select few colonists could work with sugar to make treats for well off families.  The simplest form of the confections they created was Rock Candy.  It was crystallized sugar and was considered to be a luxury item.

As sugar became more accessible, advances in technology in a great impact on the candy industry.  Candies became more affordable for working classes and children.  Candy store began to appear everywhere and were prosperous selling penny candy to kids.  In 1847 the candy press was invented and allowed candy makers to create a variety of shapes and sizes simultaneously.

Candy is known by many names, confections, lollies, sweets, but is universally something one can identify on sight. With such a sweet history, how could candy not be one of the most loved treats?