What piece of candy captures the Christmas spirit better than the candy cane?
This classic holiday treat is deeply rooted in tradition. The first recipe for the candy cane was published in 1844 but some sources say that the origin of the candy cane can be be traced back to a German monastery in 1640. You can read more about the mysterious origin of the candy cane here.
Sugar, water and corn syrup; that’s all it takes to make a candy cane. Originally, the candy was flavored with peppermint flavoring but, for some, peppermint has become passé. Recently, more and more flavors of the Christmas treat have entered the market. What’s interesting is that some candy makers have opted for more exotic flavors.
Here are three peculiar candy cane flavors that the more daring might want to try this holiday season:
Dill Pickle Flavored Candy Canes. I’m not entirely sure how this idea came to fruition. The description online says that these are meant for those who don’t particularly enjoy sweets. “Christmas can be a difficult time for someone who isn’t that into sweets. If you’re the savory sort, you might prefer the dill tang of our Pickle Candy Canes.” Not only do the candy canes taste like pickles, they also come with festive green stripes.
Gravy Candy Canes! Some people genuinely prefer Thanksgiving to Christmas. Reminisce about that delicious turkey feast whilst taking in the Christmas spirit. Now, I’ve never tried these but I’m not sure peppermint candy canes have too much to worry about.
Wasabi Candy Canes. Let’s be honest. Who hasn’t heard someone complain that their candy canes aren’t spicy enough. Maybe you’re the family prankster and want to trick someone with the green-striped candy. Imagine how disappointed your little sister would be if, while reaching for a delicious pickle-flavored candy cane, she was greeted with a mouthful of horseradish instead.
It’s always fun to spice up boring holiday traditions. I’m sure any of these three flavors would be a hot topic of conversation.
As for me, I’ll stick to “original.” For more candy news, please keep up with our blog. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Christmas is coming up! If you need any last minute gifts don’t forget to check out our online store.
Christmas isn’t the only holiday being celebrated this month. Besides Christmas Eve, December 24th also marks the beginning of Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Also known as the “Festival of Lights,” Hanukkah is observed for eight straight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev, a month in the Hebrew calendar. Hanukkah may occur anywhere from late November to late December, according to the Gregorian calendar.
As with Christmas, Hanukkah carries its own rich holiday traditions. As the story goes, a flask with only enough oil to light the menorah in the Holy Temple for one day was able to miraculously last eight nights. Those who celebrate Hanukkah commemorate the Temple miracle by eating foods fried in oil.
One of these delicious treats is called sufganiyah(soof-gah-nee-ah) a deep fried donut, filled with jelly or custard, topped with powdered sugar.
The word sufganiyah can be traced back to the arabic word “sfenj” a smaller type of deep-fried donut. Jews in North Africa have eaten similar fried balls of dough to celebrate Hanukkah for centuries.
But sufganiyah didn’t contain their iconic jelly filling until they reached central Europe. Colonies established in the carribean brought cheap sugar to Europe in the 16th century. Fruit preserves quickly became popular and, as a result, so did fruit filled pastries. The recipe for jelly donuts spread throughout Europe, eventually reaching Jews in Poland. The Polish Jews substituted the un-kosher lard with goose fat and began eating the donuts regularly on Hanukkah.
These groups eventually fled Europe, fearing the harsh anti-semitism of the early 20th century and migrated to Israel. Fortunately, they brought along their delicious jelly filled pastries. From there the Hanukkah tradition of Sufganiyah began to spread around the world.
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Gingerbread has withstood the test of time. Many believe that gingerbread was first baked in Europe at the turn of the 11th century. Crusaders returning from the Middle East brought back the custom of spicy ginger baked into bread. The ginger not only enhanced the taste but also helped preserve the bread.
Ginger bread as we know it today emerged from medieval baking practices but the act of shaping the bread into various forms can be traced back to Franconia, Germany. “Lebkuchen” a sweet, baked treat resembling modern gingerbread was invented by monks baking in monasteries. Records of Lebkuchen bakers in Nuremberg can be traced as far back as 1395. To this day, Nuremberg is the number one exporter of Lebkuchen in the world!
In the early 1600’s, Nuremberg was awarded the title of “gingerbread capital of the world” when guilds began commissioning master bakers to make complicated works of art with the bread. Medieval bakers would carve intricate designs into the hard bread.
Gingerbread baking was so prestigious in Europe that by the 17th century only expert bakers were allowed to bake it. The only two exceptions were Christmas and Easter, when everyone was allowed to bake gingerbread.
The tradition of decorating model houses made out of gingerbread came about much more recently. Gingerbread houses began to emerge in 19th century Germany. Many believe that the invention of the gingerbread house can be accredited to one of Grimm’s famous fairy tales. Can you guess which one?
In “Hansel and Gretel,” two children abandoned in the forest come across an edible house made of bread and candy. Little do they know that the house is inhabited by an evil witch that plans to fatten them up and eat them.
Today, gingerbread houses have shed their grim origin and have become a prominent symbol of the Christmas holidays.
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