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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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confection denotes any type of sweetmeat, especially candy and sugary items. By extension, “confectionery” has become a collective noun for these goods, and a “confectioner” is one who makes them, especially for commercial sale. Sugar plays a prominent role in all confections, but chocolate and flour also have important functions.

The word “confection” derives from the Latin conficiere, meaning “to make up.” Closely related words are found in several European languages. In Italian, confettiere is one who makes sweets, and confetti is a general term for the product. This latter term is related to the English word “comfit” for items made by panning. See comfit; confetti; and panning. Conficiere transformed into confiseur and confiserie in French, and confiteria in Spanish. (Confusingly, in French, un confection is made up of cloth, such as a dress for a special occasion, as is una confección in Spanish.) The German word Konditor, and various similar words in European languages, come from a different Latin term, conditus, meaning to have “stored” or “preserved” something.