Candy in one form or another has been around since ancient times. Records show that the Egyptians and later the Greeks would roll fruit and nuts in honey for a sweet treat. Until the 1700s honey and molasses were the foremost source of sweetener and many treats were created with these ingredients. Around the 1500s sugar processing began, however the cost was exorbitant and therefore only available to the very wealthy.
By the 17th century the manufacturing process for sugar had become less costly and as sugar became more affordable its popularity increased. The origins of many candies are hard to trace as chefs and home bakers began to experiment with this new ingredient.
It is believed that Ribbon candy, for example, can be traced back for centuries in Europe. Its creation, however, can also be attributed to a certain FB Washurn in Brockton, Massachusetts, around the mid-1850s. Ribbon candy was originally produced by hand wherein lengths of flavoured and colour candy was stretched into paper-thin ribbons and curled around the candy maker’s fingers to create its iconic shape. This hand creation was labour intensive and made the cost of the candy quite high. It was not until 1940 that ribbon candy was made by machine. Two inventions made this possible; the first a single spinning roll which automated the candy spinning process, and the second was an air activated cutter which eliminated the need for the candy to be cut by hand. Since the candy can now be manufactured it has become more prevalent and is a tradition found throughout North America and Europe at Christmastime.
Christmas candy comes in an unending variety of colours, shapes, sizes, textures and flavours. Clearly red, white and green are the most popular colours as well as peppermint being one of the most popular flavours. If you feel adventurous, why don’t you give candy making a try. Old Fashioned Hard Tack Candy
Sugar, or honey in particular, reminds us of the sweetness of the presence of the Lord. As we take time to prepare for Christmas day, pop a candy in your mouth and remember that His words are sweet, even sweeter than honey (or ribbon candy). (Ps 119:103)