Confectionery is the generic term for all foods composed mainly of sugar. While its history is connected closely to the process of industrialization and nineteenth-century changes in taste, the history of sugar and sweetness began much earlier. Sugar—in the sense we are familiar with today—goes back to the early Middle Ages and the Arab occupation of Spain (700–1492). “Sugar,” says the most prominent sugar historian, Sidney W. Mintz, “followed Koran” (1985, 25). Looking at the history of the Americas, it is also true to say “sugar followed Christianity,” because it was the Christian conquerors who first introduced sugar plants to the continent in the early sixteenth century. Up until the nineteenth century, world sugar consumption depended on growing sugar on plantations; and this was combined ...

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