If there’s one thing many people may have in common, it’s a sweet tooth. Fruity, minty or rich, sweet and chocolate confectionary is hard to resist. For instance, we eat enough Toblerone bars each year, that if they were put end to end, they would more than lap the circumference of the Earth! But do you know how your favourite brand or flavour came about?
What is chocolate?
We love chocolate as a sugary sweet treat, but sugar was not always classified as a sweetener. In the 16th Century, there was debate about whether sugar was considered a spice or a ‘sweet salt’. This may have been due to the fact sugar come from ‘exotic’ sources such as African plantations and brought home from crusades.
Nowadays we can all agree on the use of sugar, but there is still debate in classifications of chocolate. White chocolate is separated from milk and dark chocolate according to science. It is classified as ‘sugar confectionary’ rather than ‘chocolate’. This is because white chocolate does not contain cocoa solids or cocoa liquor, but rather cocoa butter.
Jelly Babies actually have a rather important historical origin. The sweets were originally launched as ‘Peace Babies’ in 1918, to commemorate the end of the First World War. The name as we know it has only been around since the 1953, when they were relaunched after production had stopped during the Second World War. Marking Jelly Babies’ 80th birthday in 1998, ‘Jellyatrics’ were launched by Barnack Confectionery. Give them a Google for a giggle!
The importance of a horse
The humble horse is a loved animal, and in particular to chocolate creators. Mars Candy Factory, originally called Mar-O-Bar Co. was founded by Frank and Ethel Mars in 1911. They were owners of many local farms and horses, and they loved them so much so that their second chocolate bar sold, Snickers, was named after one of Frank’s favourite horses.
Not only an inspiration for chocolate, the lollipop was named after horse Lolly Pop. George Smith, owner of Lolly Pop and coincidentally a confectionary business, trademarked the word ‘lollipop’ in 1931. Fun fact: the largest lollipop created was 6 feet tall (without the stick!).
The shiny, fruity sweets contain a rather interesting ingredient. Shellac, more commonly known for being in nail varnishes, is the reason for the smooth outer shells of Jelly Beans. However, shellac actually comes from female Lac bugs… slightly gross! They were originally sold by colour (something which some of us may prefer to still be the case) – you could buy a pack of red or green. In fact, President Ronald Reagan loved one particular colour and flavour so much, he commissioned 3 tonnes worth of blueberry Jelly Beans to be created and sent out to commemorate his inauguration in 1981. It was reported that to battle his smoking habits, he became addicted to Jelly Beans.
Healthier than we think?
We are often warned about how many sugary treats we eat and how they will affect our teeth. However, that could all change. In the labs of HARIBO, scientists are working on including xylitol in their gummy sweets. Xylitol can reduce tooth-decay and contains vitamins, do we need to say any more to persuade you?
However, chocolate is not only potential lethal for animals. The maximum amount of chocolate a human can eat is 22lbs worth, approximately 40 chocolate bars worth, so don’t go eating your whole cupboard and fridge worth after reading this!