Four confectioners relive sweet treats of the past in a new show that starts tonight (Wednesday July 19) on BBC Two at 8pm.
Three one-hour episodes follow ‘The Sweet Makers’ – chocolatier Diana Short, sweet consultant Andy Baxendale, chocolatier Paul A Young and wedding cake designer Cynthia Stroud – as they step back in time to work their way through three eras that revolutionised their trade.
In tonight’s episode, entitled ‘A Tudor Treat’, the quartet discover what life was like for their Tudor predecessors. Guided by food historian Dr Annie Gray and social historian Emma Dabiri, the professionals will explore how our national sweet tooth developed, and how the tables of the aristocracy boasted ostentatious displays of sugarcraft which showed off their owners’ wealth and status.
They will spend four days using original recipes, ingredients and equipment to create dishes that haven’t been made for hundreds of years. Their final lavish sugar banquet includes candied roses, a sweet candied root that was considered to be a Tudor aphrodisiac; sugar plates and goblets, decorated marzipan and a spectacular model banqueting house made entirely of sugar.
In episode two, which airs next Wednesday (July 26), the confectioners recreate the extravagant displays of a Georgian confectionery shop. They will craft towering jellies made from boiled calves feet and glasses of Parmesan ice cream, while their final dessert course includes an edible landscape.
In episode three on Wednesday August 2, the focus is on the Victorians. The team will make treats to stock their own sweet shop, from jars of boiled sweets to their own version of fruit pastilles and an enormous Easter egg. They will also discover the toxic colours used in sweets, the Quaker families who dominated confectionery, and the poignant letters sent back from the First World War trenches.
L-r: confectioners Diana Short, Andy Baxendale, Paul A Young Cynthia Stroud