Soft, mellow, sugary and squishy are words that are very much associated with the delicious little treats we recognise as marshmallows. |
Well known for their versatility, marshmallows feature in many a wholesale confectionery range and are a mainstay in modern sweet shops. You will see children toasting them over a campfire, dipping them in chocolate, using them to decorate cakes and biscuits, or balancing them on top of a frothy hot chocolate drink. For such a simple sweet, the marshmallow is incredibly versatile and is often made using all kinds of colours and flavours.
But the pastel-coloured, pillow-like indulgence that features in many a wholesale confectionery catalogue today has not always been quite the same, and the history of this delectable treat boasts rather a fascinating story. A Snippet of Marshmallow History
A good place to start when considering the origin of anything is with its name. The term marshmallow comes from the Althaea officinalis plant, which in layman’s terms is the marshmallow plant. With white, soft flowers, the plant is easily spotted and can found in Europe, Western Asia and North Africa.
In times gone by, all of the main parts of this plant have been used in herbal medicine, but it was the ancient Egyptians who saw the potential in the plant to produce something more decadent. Mixing the sap with honey and nuts, the Egyptians made a delicious sweet-tasting treat. They also, however, used the root of the marshmallow plant blended with honey as a soother for sore throats.
The marshmallow really came into fruition in the 19th century when the famous confectioners in France started to work with the plant and develop it into something that resembles the sweet we know today. By whipping up the extracted sap and sweetening it, they produced a lighter, fluffier, and largely more appealing result.
This was all well and good, but the method of actually retrieving the sap was time-consuming and expensive, as well as laborious. This was when experiments began using whipped egg whites or gelatine instead of sap in order to produce the iconic chewy texture. Coupling this method with the extrusion process that came into being in 1954 made producing the marshmallow much more economical and less labour-intensive.
Despite the marshmallow we know and love today having none of the original plant extract, the name remained and, in fact, is quite fitting.
While these gorgeous, light and squidgy sweets have changed dramatically since the times when the ancient Egyptians invented them, they are still very much part of wholesale confectionery ranges. At hf Chocolates, you can access a whole host of marshmallow varieties, from Barú’s sea salt caramel marshmallow bar covered in chocolate, to the dainty, tantalising pastel-coloured hearts and flowers from Sweet Boutique. Increase your range of wholesale confectionery to include more marshmallows and your customers will be smiling even more than they were before.
Angelina Moufftard works for hf Chocolates, established wholesale confectionery suppliers with decades of experience supplying sweets and high-end chocolates to retailers across the UK. Working with the most dedicated suppliers from France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Belgium, the USA and the UK, hf Chocolates' great tasting and beautifully packaged products add panache to any sweet display.
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