Candy is basically sugar dissolved in water or milk and sometimes mixed with nuts, chocolate and fruits. The word candy originated from an Arabic word `gandi‘ which means ‘made of sugar’. Honey has traditionally been the favourite candy. The Egyptians, Arabs, Chinese and those from other ancient civilisations all started eating honey-based candy way before our time. There‘s proof that the ancients ate candied nuts and fruits too. Even the Romans had confectionery shops (confectionery is another name for candy). Their candy, however, was not quite the same as our modern types, which are mainly made of sugar.
It was not until after sugar was brought to Europe in the 15th century that candy, in the form we are eating today, was produced. At the time, candy was an expensive titbit (sugar was expensive, so you needed money to enjoy candy). By the mid-1800s, there were over 400 candy factories in the United States alone.
Today, many candies are made almost entirely of boiled sugar. The texture of a candy depends on its sugar concentration as well as its temperature. If the sugar is cooked with medium heat, the candy turns out soft. High temperatures make hard candy, and cool temperatures make chewy candy.
Hard candies such as lemon drops and peppermints became popular in the 19th century. Liquorice candies were the most popular then and were made from the thick juice of a plant root, at least 50 times sweeter than sugar.
In 1897, William Morrison and John C. Wharton, a candy maker from Nashville, invented the machine that makes Fairy Floss also known as Cotton Candy. Another famous candy is the lollipop invented by George Smith in 1908. The original spelling for lollipop was Lolly Pop — and it was named after a horse.
Chocolate is also a type of candy. Long ago, the Aztecs made a drink from the cocoa bean, and they called it chocolate. In 1519, the Spanish found cocoa beans in Mexico. In 1521, they took the chocolate recipe back to Spain. The recipe was kept a secret for nearly 100 years before it was known to the rest of Europe when it became a popular drink in London. Joseph Fry in 1847 made the first chocolate bar, and Henri Nestle and Daniel Peter were the two people responsible for introducing milk chocolate to the world in 1875.
Then there are the traditional candies. In Japan, Kompeito, a traditional Japanese candy, takes a whole week to prepare. Chikki (from India) and Pé-de-moleque (from Brazil) are two homemade candies made of nuts and honey. In Malaysia, ting-ting and coconut candy are two of the many traditional candies available.
Wow, isn‘t that a lot to digest? Whether you have a sweet tooth or not, have a sweet day ahead and keep reading!