I have to confess that even though I live in Belgium, I think I like confections almost as much as chocolate. Except for chocolate covered almonds, I LOVE those. Although, I haven’t seen/found them in Belgium yet. (If you want to know more about Belgian chocolate, which I also like, you can see this post).
Living in Canada, I always knew about fudge, but now being in Europe, I have discovered some new confections: halva, nougat, marzipan. Ok so I probably knew of these in some form while in Canada, but they were most likely mixed in with a brand-name candy that I didn’t really know about them in their natural glory. So without further a do here are my confessions on confections.
Fudge: a Western confection basically made of sugar, butter, milk and then a flavoring such as chocolate, caramel, maple, etc.
Fudge comes in so many different flavours. For me what makes a good fudge is its softness. I don’t like refridgerated fugde or fudge that at room temperature is hard and dry. It has to be a creamy fudge that melts in your mouth. If times are desperate, I could eat it cold or if it was the solid type. When you look at the ingredients, fudge is basically another form of consuming sugar, but its oooh so good. Actually all confections are basically fancy forms of sugar. Anyways, carrying on.
Halva: There are so many different ways to spell halva (halawa, halvah, helava, aluva...) and it is served in many different parts of the word (Asia, Africa, Balkans, Eastern Europe, Malta, etc). The list goes on so I won’t attempt to list all the spellings and countries here. What I can tell you is that halva is often made two different ways, one with flour and one with a nut-butter base (usually from sesame or sunflower seeds).
Halva also comes in a wide variety of flavours. My favorite, so far, is pistachio halva made from sunflower seeds. The flour-based halva can taste a bit pasty and feels like a more desperate-for-sugar-dessert. But the seed-based halva is amazing. I think halva is one of those desserts that you either love or hate. It can have quite a rough texture to it if made of seeds, but I like it.
Nougat: bascially made from some form of sugar, egg whites and nuts. The most common one I’ve seen is the classic white nougat, which apparently originated in Italy. (Those Italians really are masters in cuisine).
Can you tell I’m a fan of nuts and seeds? Like fudge, for me its important for the nougat to be of the soft variety. Its kind of like marshmallows but less plastic-like. I guess my favorite nougat would be the coffee-flavoured one with almonds and maybe a dash of chocolate. Delicious! (But too much gives a girl a stomach ache, especially if its so rich).
As a side note on nougat, there is a shop in Ghent, Belgium that prides itself as having “the best nougat in the world.” I can’t say this is true, but it is yummy.
Marzipan: is made of sugar and almonds. It can come in a plain white brick or in various shapes and colors. Its also a dessert that I think you either love or hate.
Eve though regardless of the shape or color, marzipan always has essentially the same taste. I like when it is shaped and colored like fruits. I’ve also seen little pink pigs made of marzipan. Its weird because they are so cute and you kind of want to eat them and then if you look at them too long you might think of the taste of pork no?
I don’t want you to leave this page about sweets thinking about the taste of…not even gonna write it again…so all I have to say is: candy canes, toffee, licorice, chocolate, meringues, truffles, peanut brittle, turkish delight, jelly beans, jujubes, caramels, marshmallows and lemon drops, oh my!
What’s your favorite confection? (Please be as specific as possible)