Discoveries at the Jungle Candy Month: Lotte E. Wedel Chocolates from Poland and Wedgewood Walters Nougat Candy from South Africa

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​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.

E. Wedel Chocolates – Poland

E. Wedel has been making chocolate in Poland since 1851 which makes it’s the oldest candy company in the country. These bars are high in cocoa content, which brings out intense, deep flavors that melt in your mouth. 

Where you can find these: Fairfield Location: Orange 17 // Eastgate Location:  Yellow 6

​Did you know: The founder of E. Wedel Chocolates was known as the Willy Wonka of Poland.

Walters Nougat Candy – South Africa

​These handmade nougat candy bars are to die for! Gilly Walters started making these soft treats in her family kitchen in 1999 using all natural fresh ingredients with no commercial processing or machines, and they are still handmade today! Try Macadamia Honey or Almond Honey, either is a fantastic choice!

Where you can find these: Fairfield Location: Orange 9 // Eastgate Location: Yellow 6

Did you know: Economic analysts note that candy sales do not appear to be affected by recessions. Although candy is not a necessary staple of diets, low candy prices often allow people to splurge on these treats without guilt. (Although sugar was much more expensive during the European middle ages. Then only the wealthy could afford it.)

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