Our new season is now open: Spring 1677 !
Sugar was not entirely unknown in Europe, but vastly expensive so that honey was more often used to sweeten before the 17th century. Contact with the West Indies introduced cane sugar, and larger volume on the market made it more available.
Sugar was first sold with drugs and herbs at apothecary shops. Like spices in the early modern era, sugar was a rare and much prized substance used by the rich for true conspicuous consumption. Sugar had multiple roles, serving as a medicine, a sweetener for beverages, and an ingredient for pastry and confections.
Table decorations made of sugar paste had been featured in banquets since the Middle Ages. Powdered sugar was combined with tragacanth gum to make a pliable modeling medium that could be shaped or pressed into wood or plaster molds.