National Candy Day is observed annually on November 4th. Candies come in numerous colors, shapes, sizes and varieties and have a long history in popular culture.
It was in the late 13th century that the Middle English word candy began to be used, coming into English from the Old French cucre candi, derived in turn from Persian Qand and Qandi, cane sugar.
People use the term candy as a broad category that includes candy bars, chocolates, licorice, sour candies, salty candies, tart candies, hard candies, taffies, gumdrops, marshmallows and much more.
Way back in time, before sugar was readily available, candy was made from honey. The honey was used to coat fruits and flowers to preserve them or to create forms of candy. There is still candy that is served in this way today, but it is typically seen as a garnish.
Originally a form of medicine, candy calmed the digestive system or cooled a sore throat. At this time, combined with spices and sugar, candy only appeared in the purses and the dishes of the wealthy.
It was in the 18th century that the first candy is believed to have come to America from Britain and France. At this time, the simplest form of candy was Rock Candy made from crystallized sugar. However, even the basic form of sugar was considered a luxury and was only attainable by the wealthy.
Since 1979, the world has produced more sugar than can be sold, making it very attainable and cheap.
When the technological advances and the availability of sugar opened up the market in the 1830s, the candy business underwent a drastic change. Candy was not only for the enjoyment of the well to do but the pleasure of everyone. Penny candies became popular, targeting children.
- 1847 – Invention of the candy press making it possible to produce multiple shapes and sizes of candy at one time.
- 1851 – Confectioners began using a revolving steam pan to assist in boiling sugar.
The two top-selling candies in America have been:
- M & M’S — M&M’s are milk chocolate drops with a colorful candy coating on the outside. The candies were first manufactured in 1941 and were given to American soldiers serving in the Second World War. M&M’s are produced by Mars Inc.
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups — Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are round chocolate disks that are filled with a sweet, creamy peanut butter filling. The cups were first manufactured in 1928 by the Hershey’s company.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Grab a pack of your favorite candy and enjoy!