In three part series The Sweet Makers: A Tudor Treat, premiering on Wednesday 19 July at 8.00pm on BBC Two, Four modern confectioners step back in time to discover what life was like for their Tudor predecessors. They’ll explore how our national sweet tooth developed, and how the tables of the aristocracy boasted fantastic displays of sugar craft which showed off their owners’ wealth and status.
The Sweet Makers will also explore the negative side of the introduction of sugar to the Tudor lifestyle, including the impact on teeth and fueling our involvement in the most shameful chapters in British history – the Slave trade.
Guided by food historian Dr Annie Gray and social historian Emma Dabiri, our modern professionals enter the world of the 16th century confectioner – a time when sugar was believed to have medicinal qualities and was so valuable it was kept under lock and key, the preserve of the elite. Every dish the team makes will form part of an elaborate aristocratic sugar banquet.
Our confectioners (pictured left to right) are: chocolatier Diana Short, sweet consultant Andy Baxendale, chocolatier Paul A Young and wedding cake designer Cynthia Stroud. They are spending four days using original recipes, ingredients and equipment to create dishes that haven’t been made, let alone tasted, for hundreds of years.
Their final lavish sugar banquet includes candied roses (believed to cure gonorrhea), a sweet candied root that was considered to be a Tudor aphrodisiac; sugar plates and goblets, gorgeously decorated marzipan and a spectacular model banqueting house made entirely of sugar.
The Sweet Makers: A Tudor Treat Episode 1 (of 3) airs Wednesday 19 July 2017 from 8.00pm-9.00pm on BBC Two.