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The History of Sweets

It is that time again; we are bringing you another feature from our history of sweets. Each week we try to bring you a look back at some of your favourite sweets and treats.


This week: CANDYFLOSS


Candyfloss, Cotton Candy, Fairy Floss, Spun Sugar or whatever you may call it!

There is some debate about the origin of candy floss. Some think it was developed in 19th century Europe, others as early as 15th century Italy. We do know that machine spun candy floss was invented in 1897 by dentist William Morrison and confectioner John Wharton who introduced their invention at the 1904 World’s Fair as ‘Fairy Floss’! The machine has had little change in the last 100 or so years; At the top of the head, a heater melts the sugar, reducing it to syrup.


At the same time, centrifugal force generated by the spinning head­—which whips around at a dizzying 3,400 revolutions per minute— forces the liquid sugar through the tiny holes. As the syrup sprays through the holes, it solidifies almost instantly into long skinny strands, just 50 microns (two-thousandths of an inch) in diameter.


The syrup cools so rapidly that the sugar never gets a chance to re-crystallize, instead forming a disorganized, amorphous solid.


A man named Joseph Lascaux later invented a similar machine in New Orleans before patenting his confectionery ‘Cotton Candy’. This name overtook the original Fairy Floss (apart from in Australia) and is now mass produced worldwide, most commonly by Tootsie Roll Industries.


We’ll leave you with this titbit! You may be surprised to hear that candyfloss is not at calorific as you may once have thought! Of many of the other carnival treats candyfloss is probably your best bet for those dieting! The reason for this is because candyfloss is mostly non-calorific air! Now, we aren’t saying to indulge in candyfloss everyday but you can now enjoy guilt free at your next carnival!