Oh boy, you've got quite a sweet tooth, don't you? Don't worry, I'm here to satisfy your curiosity about all things candy-related!
Let's start at the very beginning, shall we? Sweets, or candies as they're known in the United States, have been around for a very long time. It's believed that humans have been indulging in sugary treats since prehistoric times. Yep, even cavemen had a sweet tooth!
But the concept of candy as we know it today didn't really come into existence until much later. The ancient Egyptians, for example, made candy using honey and nuts, while the Greeks and Romans enjoyed a sugary treat made from quince fruit.
It wasn't until the Middle Ages that candy really started to take off in Europe. Sugar was a rare and expensive commodity at the time, so only the wealthy could afford to enjoy it. But as the price of sugar came down, candy became more accessible to the masses.
The original sweets were made from all sorts of things – sugar, honey, nuts, fruit, you name it! But the first true candy, as we know it today, was probably rock candy. This is made by dissolving sugar in boiling water and letting it cool and harden into crystals.
Now, onto the question of why candy is called candy in the US and sweets in the UK. Well, it's all down to language differences. In the UK, the word candy refers specifically to hard sweets, while soft, chewy sweets are known as toffees or chews. In the US, however, candy is a catch-all term for all types of sweet treats.
As for the oldest sweet/candy in the world, that's a tough one to answer definitively. But one contender is a type of honeycomb candy that was discovered in the tomb of Amenhotep III, an Egyptian pharaoh who ruled over 3,000 years ago.
But what about modern sweets – who invented those? Well, that's a trickier question, as there have been countless inventors and innovations over the years. One of the most influential figures in the history of candy, however, was probably Hans Riegel, the founder of Haribo.
Riegel started making gummy bears in Germany in the 1920s, and they quickly became a hit. The secret to their success was the use of gelatin, a protein that allowed the candies to be soft and chewy. Haribo went on to become one of the biggest candy companies in the world, and gummy bears are now enjoyed by people of all ages across the globe.
So how did sweets become so popular? Well, there are a few factors at play here. For one thing, as sugar became more affordable, people were able to indulge in sweet treats more often. And as candy makers got more creative with their flavors and textures, there was always something new and exciting to try.
But perhaps the biggest reason for the enduring popularity of candy is that it just makes people happy. There's something about a sweet, sugary treat that can brighten even the gloomiest of days. So go ahead, treat yourself to a little something sweet – you deserve it!