The history of candy
Snacking on candy is as old as humanity
Since prehistoric times people have liked sweet flavours
Whenever our forefathers looked for something edible in the field they only took sweet fruits with them.
They also knew already that something sweet was nicer to eat than something bitter.
The 1st real sweetener people started using to add sweetness to their food was honey. In the Stone Age hunters took honey from the beehives of wild bees.
And before 2500 B.C. even the Egyptians already had hives full of honey bees.
Sugar as we now know it was also used early on. Already 3000 BC people in India knew how to extract sugar from sugar cane.
Through the Arab countries this method already became known in France and Spain.
The first real candy
Honey and cane sugar was only used to sweeten food.
The introduction of the first real candy would still take considerable time.
To be exact: until the beginning of the 16th century!
The idea to make all sorts of candy out of cane sugar, developed around 1510 in the Southern Netherlands (now known as Flanders).
At that time candy was called sugar works and was extremely popular in higher circles.
Several German emperors had sugar works specially delivered to their courts.
All the way from the current Flemish country!
In those times people also received sugar works figurines as a welcoming gift.
Candy stayed something for the rich for a long time.
Which is not surprising if you take into account that it was quite expensive to produce sugar out of sugar cane.
This changed only after 1747.
Because in that year a German pharmacist discovered that you could also extract sugar from the cheaper beets.
Did you know that in those times people believed that candy also had a medicinal function.
It was believed for example that marshmallows were beneficial to chest pain.
And allegedly the Yellow Man (Irish toffee) was also wholesome for a variety of ailments.
How is candy manufactured?
How are so many sorts of candy manufactured?
In the 1st place of course by using a different recipe for each kind of candy.
But not only the taste is important.
Also the shape, size and firmness of the candy play an important role. Try for yourself.
Snacking on candy is tasting a particular flavour whilst feeling the shape of the candy in your mouth.
This way candy manufacturers are able to vary and combine indefinitely.
Sugar in the lead role:
Even if they look very different, each piece of candy is still called sugar works. As the name suggests such candy consists mainly of white sugar.
However, sugar is not the only ingredient. Because you also need water to make syrup out of that sugar. The less water you use the thicker the syrup becomes. And the more water, the softer.
So if you mix water with sugar and heat it up it becomes syrup.
A sticky substance, to which the right natural colorants and natural aromatic and flavouring ingredients are added.
By constantly varying these ingredients you can create different kinds of sugar works.
As many flavours as there are personal tastes! How, for example is the Lange Jan candy manufactured?
First the sugars and glucose syrup are weighed and mixed in a large kettle.
Water is added to that same kettle and the mixture is then boiled.
Then the boiled Lange Jan- mass is poured into a large bin to cool off.
Gelatine powder and a little vegetable fat (for smoothness) are added to the bin.
The Lange Jan dough is now ready.
To make it soft and flexible it needs to be well-kneaded for a very long time.
To get the different tastes now also the fruit juice and natural colorants are added.
When the machine is finished kneading, the now cooled down, dough slab is put into the “pulling machine”.
Just like in cake dough this makes a big slab out of it.
This slab arrives at the next machine, which cuts it into neat long bars. After this each Lange Jan is wrapped into a paper.
Of course there is also a quality check as each piece of candy needs to meet strict standards.
Finally 15 Lange Jan bars are automatically packed into each package.
They are now ready to be delivered to the shops.