Welcome to Discoveries at the Jungle, where each month we’ll take a look at some of the most interesting, flavorful and sometimes bizarre international items Jungle Jim’s has to offer. This month, we’re featuring candy from around the world! So far this year we have focused on coffee, tea, snacks and pasta, so if you missed those posts, make sure you go back and give them a read.
From chocolate, to fruity gummies and hard candy, to liquorice, caramels, marshmallows, taffy, and more, candy has been around for centuries. It comes in all shapes and sizes, too! But where did “candy” come from? Let’s take a look.
Candy can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians where they, along with the Chinese and Indians, combined fruits, nuts and honey to make sweets. Once sugar processing was discovered, though, it kickstarted a new candy industry. In the middle ages it was only a delicacy, but once the 17th century hit, sugar was more common. The English and Americans boiled sugar to make candies mixed with fruit and nuts. From there the candy train was rolling full steam ahead. By the 19th century candy was being mass produced all over the world and a huge variety of products were hitting the market.
Chocolate came around about 4,000 years ago in pre-Olmec cultures living in present-day Mexico. It was first consumed as a bitter beverage rather than a sweet treat. They roasted and ground the cacao beans into a paste that they mixed with water, vanilla, honey, chili peppers and other spices to brew a frothy chocolate drink. Chocolate candy as we know it today was created in 1828, when Coenraad Johannes van Houten invented the cocoa press. It would squeeze the fatty cocoa butter from roasted cacao beans leaving behind a dry cake that could be pulverized into a fine powder that could be combined with other ingredients and molded into a chocolate treat.
Fascinating, isn’t it?
Now that the geeky stuff is out of the way, let’s jump into our first two candy features, shall we?
Droste Chocolate Candies - Holland
Where you can find these: Fairfield Location: Holland Section // Eastgate Location: Yellow 4
Did you know: Droste manufactures 5256 Pastelles per minute!
Kinder Happy Hippos - United Kingdom
Where you can find these: Fairfield Location: Orange 18 // Eastgate Location: Yellow 6
Did you know: Kinder makes chocolate eggs that are filled with toys that are very popular around the world, however they are banned in the United States because they can be a choking hazard.
Ricolino Duvalin - Mexico
Did you know: The uniqueness of Mexican candies stems from the wild flavors, textures and shapes.