What products are actually considered to be sugar confectionery?

The main ingredient used – sugar – gives this product group its name. Examples of sugar confectionery are boiled sweets, coated sweets, fruit gums, liquorice sweets, ice chocolates, marzipan, nut brittle, praline, foamed confectionery, sherbets and drink powders, candied fruits, caramelised almonds, sugar-coated nuts.

However, this product group also includes so-called sugar-free confectionery. This is produced using sugar substitutes, such as fructose, sorbitol, and xylitol.


How are boiled sweets made?

Boiled sweets begin as a solution made of sugar, water, and glucose syrup. Cooking processes at temperatures of between 125 and 150°C remove water from this solution. The remaining water content determines the characteristics of the boiled sweet. So-called hard-boiled sweets contain a residual water content of around 3%, whereas soft caramels still have around 10%. The respective remaining water content produces a different “texture” in the boiled sweet. Hard-boiled sweets are more likely to be sucked, whereas soft caramels are mostly chewed. Additional ingredients determining the value and taste of the sugar mass are, for example, milk, cream, honey, chocolate, nuts, vitamins, flavourings, and colourings. There are different ways of forming these boiled sweets. Boiled sweets are either cut, moulded, or cast.


How long has liquorice existed?

Liquorice looks back on a long tradition reaching back into the most ancient history known to us. The effects of liquorice were already known to the ancient Egyptians, as was proven in 1922 with the discovery of a liquorice root in the tomb of Tutankhamen. In antiquity the Mediterranean region is known to have used the juice press from the liquorice root as a remedy against coughs and stomach complaints. Later it was monks in England and the apothecary George Dunhill (1760) from Pontefract who first boiled the juice together with sugar and other ingredients. That was the moment of origin of the liquorice product we know today.


Where does the word “bonbon” come from?

As the story goes, the term “bonbon” already originated around the year 1600 in aristocratic circles. In 1572, King Henry IV of France had sugar confectionery made in celebration of his own wedding. Children attending the wedding are said to have been so enchanted by these delicacies that they shouted “Bon! Bon!”, repeating the French word for “good” twice over, which then quickly became the firmly established term.


When did marzipan first originate?

The sugar confectionery known as marzipan looks back on a particularly long tradition: the Mediterranean countries and also India have a very early history of mixing almonds and sugar-cane juice. There are writings which reveal that caliphs around 800 A.D. already partook of this delicacy. But whether this was marzipan as we know it today is doubtful. In 1844, in a prospectus, the novelist Balzac mentions the centuries-old tradition of marzipan recipes in the convent of Issoudun (France).

The original term for marzipan is alleged to have been “mauthaban”. The author Thomas Mann, however, presumes today’s term stems from “panis Marci”, meaning the “bread of Marcus or Martis” (from the god of war Mars) – in other words marzipan as “soldier’s bread”.

In Central Europe marzipan did not become available to broader sections of the population until the sugar factories were able to offer reasonably priced granulated sugar. It had previously been a costly delicacy reserved for princes and other people of wealth.


What is the difference between “fruit gums” and “wine gums”?

Fruit gums and wine gums are two types of gumdrops. Wine gums have a distinct taste of wine in them. The alcohol in the wine has completely evaporated in the production process, however.


Do pralines, truffles, and ice chocolates count as chocolate products and what distinguishes these products?

Many consumers see pralines, ice chocolates, and truffles as belonging to the product group of chocolate goods. And indeed the list of their ingredients, their smooth and brown raw pastes, and even their production methods remind one of chocolate. And yet, according to the current regulations, all three of these products are deemed to be sugar confectionery.

The taste of praline is characterised by a high nut content and the velvety smoothness of mild nut oil. There are different types of praline: nut praline or almond praline, dark or light, and sweet or tangy. The particularly fine cream praline is particularly popular and must contain at least 5.5% of milk fat from cream or powdered cream. Praline usually also contains cocoa ingredients; if these are missing, one has a “sweetened nut puree”. Praline is popularly used in filled chocolates (pralines) and chocolates, is formed into bars, or is offered as layered praline.

The counterpart product to praline is truffle paste, which is characterised by its velvety smoothness. Once again, distinguishing this from chocolate is difficult because the main ingredient is indeed chocolate. Truffles are characterised by particularly high-quality ingredients, such as butter and cream. And once again it is alcoholic supplements which round off the taste of these truffle products, with champagne truffles being a particular speciality.

By contrast, ice chocolates (not to be confused with ice cream products) are characterised by a high coconut butter content, creating that characteristic cooling, melt-in-the-mouth effect: the unhardened cocoa fat has a particularly high melting temperature, absorbing a lot of energy in the melting process. The consumer senses the cooling effect of ice chocolates on the tongue because the cocoa fat draws heat from the mouth in melting. This effect can be strengthened by adding menthol and dextrose. Ice chocolates must contain at least 5% cocoa powder.