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History of Candy & Desserts

Food history - the origins of candy and desserts.


Party table with cupcakes, popcorn, and candies
Jessie Jean/ Taxi/ Getty Images
By definition candy is a rich sweet confection made with sugar or other sweeteners and often flavored or combined with fruits or nuts. Dessert refers to any sweet dish for example: candy, fruit, ice cream, or pastry, served at the end of a meal.

The history of candy dates back to ancient peoples who must have snacked on sweet honey straight from bee hives. The first candy confections were fruits and nuts rolled in honey. The manufacturing of sugar began during the middle ages and at that time sugar was so expensive that only the rich could afford candy made from sugar. Cacao, from which chocolate is made, was re-discovered in 1519 by Spanish explorers in Mexico.

The price of manufacturing sugar was much lower by the seventeenth century when hard candy became popular. By the mid-1800s, there were over four hundred factories in the United States producing candy.

History of Individual Types of Candy and Desserts

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