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Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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Belgium, a small kingdom in Western Europe, has been internationally famous for its chocolate and waffles only since the 1970s. The country’s reputation for sweets can be explained by its long history of culinary influences and its many eras of opulence. Before Belgium became an independent nation in 1830, the region had been part of various monarchies that introduced French, Spanish, and Austrian influences, and with them Italian, Arabic, and Near-Eastern ones. With regard to foreign influences, it is telling that in the late fifteenth century the Canary Islands were known as the Flemish Isles because of the large population of Flemings who grew sugarcane there to ship to the Low Countries. As a result of their activity, the price of sugar fell by almost 60 percent within several years. See sugar trade.