Coming from the Arabic word “qandi”, which means something made with the use of sugar, it is amazing how candies around the world have become staple favourite treats to nibble on, both by children and adults alike. According to scientists, the natural liking for sugary treats stems from one of our evolutionary precautions, as sugar is an easily consumed source of energy. In line with this, food historians also argue that candies were initially consumed to aid in medical treatment — the modern sweet as an ancient treatment tool — and technology developments heralded the progress of candy-making’s art, which sparked the emergence of a near cult-like following of some sweets. The following candies are some of the best-known and well-loved confections in different parts of the world.
A well-loved candy around the world, caramel is a versatile confection, from its gooey sweetness which simultaneous melts inside the mouth. Its origins are debatable, but records show that American settlers in the 1600s used to make hard candies; and some time before the late 1800s, a candy maker boiled water and sugar, and simultaneously added milk and fat—the process that gave birth to caramel. Caramel lovers are endeared toward its non-hard candy characteristics, with milk and condensed milk as the main factors that ensure its texture. Other basic ingredients include corn syrup, oil, sugar, molasses, and butter. This confection is easy to make, even at home.
Brigadeiros are Brazil’s national truffle, which are often served during birthday celebrations or other parties in the country, but have also become popular candies around the world. The simple chocolate bonbon was created in the 1940s, the name of which was coined by the creators after Brigadier Eduardo Gomes, the politician that ran for presidency in the period when the country was plagued with shortage of traditional imports. The same period also saw the said truffle’s creation and success as replacement for the sweet imports, which can be partly attributed to Nestlé’s introduction of its own brand of powder and condensed milk in Brazil. It is made through mixing butter, cocoa powder, and condensed milk — which are then heated for the candy’s sticky, smooth texture— and then rolled and sprinkled with chocolates.
A popular candy around the world, but most especially known as a favourite in the Middle East, is called Turkish delight or loucum, which means “rest for the throat”. It has different variations: As manufactured in the West, the candy is made and processed from its basic ingredients such as sugar and starch, but it takes on other subtler forms in the Middle East—usually made of pistachios, chopped dates, and walnuts or hazelnuts. Originating from Turkey, it has been produced way back during the 15th century Ottoman Empire, and was later introduced to the western world during the 1800s. Usually packaged in small cubes, the candy has also become a major treat all throughout Britain and Continental Europe.
Flying off store shelves for the past 60 years, Ting Ting Jahe Candy, or Ginger Candy, is an Indonesian product that has gained recognition as a famous candy around the world because of its excellent quality. After all, it is made of all-natural ingredients, in which no preservatives or artificial flavouring has been added. Given its name, the candy is mainly made of ginger, and is processed along with cane sugar, tapioca starch, and maltose. Apart from allowing it to go through an 18-month shelf-life without preservatives, and giving it its interestingly spicy taste; its high concentrations of ginger make it as a very healthy treat. Ginger has been known as a magic herb, with various medicinal qualities that provide several benefits to one’s health.
Gummy Candy (also sometimes known as a wine gum) is one of Germany’s most well-known candy creations, and is one of those candies that truly come in different shapes and sizes, but with the same fun chewing experience. The well-known candy around the world was first invented by Hans Riegel, owner of the candy company named Haribo, during circa 1920. The creation of gummy candy has spawned the emergence of a variety of gummy objects and animals such as worms, bears, and apples. Its main ingredient is edible gelatine, an element that has been used way back during the era of Pharaohs in Egypt. Other ingredients are corn starch, sugar, corn syrup, and flavour; and other varieties are further more organic and vegetarian-friendly.
Botan Rice Candy
A traditional candy from Japan, Botan Rice Candy has become an increasingly popular candy around the world, and is currently an import to North America. It is an orange-flavoured, chewy, and soft candy with rice paper that serves as its outer layer where the rice paper interestingly melts inside your mouth. Ingredients include sweet rice, water, lemon flavour, sugar, glucose syrup, and orange flavour.
Pirulí is a favoured candy treat in various Spanish-speaking countries, but has also been catapulted to higher levels as a favoured candy around the world, mainly in certain places in Asia. It is also referred to as “Heng Jia” in North China. The candy is generally made out of caramelized sugar, and appears in the form of a twisted cone that is connected to a stick like a lollipop, which thus serves as the candy’s handle. Its name originates from a verb meaning “to pirouette”, and it goes by other names such as pirulín, chupirul, and pico dulce. Walt Disney may have been responsible for proliferating oversized versions of this treat throughout North America as well.
Scotland has earned its rightful place as a main source of one of the best candies around the world—the tablet, which is a hard sugary confection that’s so sugary, it will make you sick if you overindulge even slightly. Its usual ingredients include condensed milk, sugar, and butter that are then boiled to the stage called “soft-ball”, and eventually allowed crystallize. The first indication of the candy’s presence is during the early 18th century, in The Household Book of Lady Grisell Baillie. It was then made out of cream and sugar — but the developing art of tablet-making and increasing popularity paved way for other added elements. To distinguish from the much softer fudge, tablet has a more grainy and brittle texture.
Palm Sugar Candy
Cambodia’s mythical tree, called sugar palm tree or Thnôt, dots the Cambodian landscape. It serves as the country’s national tree, and provides one of the main sources of a famous and well-loved candy around the world — the Cambodian palm sugar candy. The candy’s colour usually ranges from an unstriking gold to a dark shade of brown, and is made from palm sap, which is characterized by a complex taste unlike the excessive sweetness of the commonly known sugar. Other sources are several palm varieties, such as Coconuts and Palmyra. It has no additives and preservatives, which thus contribute to the candy’s rich flavour and fewer “sugar rush” side effects.
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