Facts about the history of candy

Candy is enjoyed worldwide today but do you know anything about some of your favourites’ strange and wonderful roots? Here are some facts surrounding candy enjoyed by people in the past.

Ancient civilisations used liquorice to quench thirst

Liquorice which is made from the sweet extract of a plant root was believed to quench thirst. Alexander the Great went so far as to provide his troops with liquorice to help them march for longer and require water less often. This was also done by Julius Ceasor.

M&M’s were invented to provide soldiers with chocolate

Soldiers wanting to eat chocolate ran into the problem that the hot conditions they worked in, in certain areas, caused the chocolate to melt. The solution to this problem was coating the chocolate in a candy shell, which not only gives us the great taste we have today but allowed the chocolate to be transported much easier without melting.

Honeycomb was early human’s sweet of choice

Cave paintings dated to between 8000BC and 200BC in Spain clearly show people smoking bees from their hives. This presumably gave them access to the honey and honeycomb inside the hive. Honey and honeycomb might, therefore, be what early humans with a sweet tooth reached for first and was the origin of our love of sweets in the future.

Mayans and Aztecs believed chocolate was magical

Cacao, which originated in South America, held a special position for the native people of the continent. Chocolate drinks were associated with rituals at times of birth, marriage, death and coming of age. The Aztecs believed that chocolate was a gift from their god Quetzalcoatl and his wisdom was granted to them through the sweet.

Sources:

https://www.icco.org/faq/54-cocoa-origins/133-chocolate-use-in-early-aztec-cultures.html

https://lakritsfabriken.se/en/om-lakrits/https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0005772X.1976.11097580?journalCode=tbee20

http://rivergrandrapids.com/mms-were-originally-created-to-allow-easy-transport-of-chocolate-to-the-military-fact-of-the-day/

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Roedolf Walker
Journalist

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