When Was Candy First Eaten?
It is impossible to pinpoint exactly when candy was invented and who was responsible. The word candy comes from the Persian word qandi, but experts know candy itself is much older than the ancient Persians.
Candy has been a popular food for many hundreds of years. Long ago, dates, figs and nuts were chopped up and mixed with honey, and molded into individual pieces. But candy of the kinds we know – candy made of sugar – is much newer.
Almost no one in Europe had even heard of sugar before about 500 years ago. At first, druggists used sweets to hide the taste of bitter medicines. Some of the earliest candies were used to aid indigestion or to soothe sore throats.
The price of sugar was very high, though, so sugar candies were mainly enjoyed only by the rich. When sugar became plentiful, and within reach people began making candy just for its sweet taste.
All candy was made by hand until about 200 years ago. Now candy-making machines usually do the work. It was during the Industrial Revolution that machinery was invented to mass produce candies from sugar, which had become more affordable.
The earliest candies were basic staples, like candy corn and chewing gum. At the turn of the 20th century, chocolate bars began to become more popular, spurring the popularity of candy to a whole new level.