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Friday, February 3, 2023

Uncovering The Sweet Origins Of Candy Around the World

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Candy has been a part of our lives since the early days, when it was first created as a sweet treat to enjoy. The sweet has a rich history that traces back to ancient India, where it was first made, and it spread throughout the world, where it was adapted and modified to suit local tastes and ingredients. The sweet is still enjoyed today and is a great example of how food and sweets can evolve and change over time.

History of Candy: Early Candy Origins 

The history of candy is a long and winding one. Before India started making and trading sugar candy, it is believed that a primitive form of candy dates back to prehistoric times, with evidence of honey being used as a sweetener in many cultures. In the Middle East, candy was made from fruits and nuts, while in China, candy was made from rice, barley, and soybeans. In the Americas, the Aztecs and Mayans used honey and the cacao bean to make chocolate.

Indian Origin of Candy: The Desi Khanda

The Indian origin of candy can be traced back to the desi “khanda,” an ancient Indian Sanskrit word that means “a piece of sugar,” believed to be the first type of candy.

People think that the sweet came from the north of India, where there was a lot of sugarcane and a long history of making sugar.

5,000 years ago, when the only sweet things anyone else in the world had ever tasted were fruits and honey, people in India were boiling down the sap of the sugar cane to make sugar, albeit a dark and only semi-solid sort of sugar. The mixture was then shaped into balls and rolled in sugar, cardamom, and other ingredients. This was considered a special treat in India and was often given as a gift. It was also similar in texture and taste to many modern candies—sweet and chewy.

Eventually, sugar made its way around the world from India thanks to the Greeks and the Romans, who imported tiny amounts of the substance they referred to as “Indian salt” and sold it for astronomical amounts of money.

India had already created the first two types of candy by that time. What we now call rock candy was originally just a clump of sugar crystals. Candying and glaceing, in which seeds, nuts, dried fruits, and even vegetables are boiled or dipped in sugar syrup, originated in India.

Candy Throughout the Ages

Over the centuries, candy has evolved and changed, taking on different forms and flavors.

The sweet became popular in the Mughal era, where it was often served as a dessert in the royal court. The Mughals were known for their sweet tooth, and they introduced many new sweets and desserts to India in return. The Khanda was one of the sweets that was favored by the Mughals, who took it back with them and made it popular among their people as well, who called it “qandi.” 

The sweet spread throughout the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa, where it was adapted and modified to suit local tastes and ingredients.

In Europe, the sweet was first introduced by the Moors in Spain, where it was called “mazapán.” The sweet was then further modified by the Spanish and the Portuguese, who added almonds and other nuts to the mixture. This sweet eventually evolved into the marzipan we know today.

In the United States, the sweet was introduced by European settlers, who brought their own candy-making techniques with them. European candy-making techniques had a significant impact on the early American candy industry, and many of the American-made candies were similar to European candies.

Modern Candy Trends: The Rise of Artisanal Candy

Artisanal candy is on the rise, with many small, independent candy makers creating unique, handmade treats. These artisanal candies are often made with natural ingredients and have a rich, intense flavor. Artisanal candy makers focus on creating unique flavors and textures, often combining traditional candy-making techniques with modern flavors.

The popularity of artisanal candy has been driven by the internet, which has allowed people to explore different types of candy and discover unique flavors. Artisanal candy makers have also been able to reach a wider audience and share their creations with people around the world.

Online stores and websites have made it easier than ever to buy candy from around the world. The popularity of candy is also due to its health benefits. Candy is a great source of energy and is high in sugar, which can help give you the boost you need to get through the day. It’s also a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth without having to consume too many calories.

Candy has come a long way since its first appearance, and its history is as rich and varied as its flavors. From the desi khanda to the modern-day treats we all know and love, candy has been an important part of the world’s cultural and culinary landscape. 

So, the next time you enjoy a piece of candy, take a moment to think about its sweet origins and how it has evolved over time to become the global treat it is today.

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