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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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sweeties the general name used in Scotland for boiled sweets, toffees, and the like. Scottish people have indulged themselves with sweeties ever since the 15th century, when sugar began to be imported in quantity, and have acquired an international reputation for the quality of their products and also for the interesting names which many of them have. See also tablet and some of the items described under toffee.

According to Jenny Carter and Janet Rae (1989), the first manufacturing confectioner to set up trade in Edinburgh was an Italian who was given a licence in 1665 to make ‘confeits’. When, later, Glasgow became an important centre for sugar-refining, the number of confectioners in that city multiplied. The same two authors continue:

the Sweetie Wives, who made their own confections, were a familiar sight in both the streets and the markets. The Border towns also had women who liked making sweets and some of the most familiar confections originated in that locality in the nineteenth century.