The Past in the Future

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

Interestingly, the most recent developments in dessert design harken back to the elaborate confections of Venice and Vienna when taste was secondary but the show was everything. Bompas & Parr, the British food designers (trained as architects) who repopularized jelly by treating it much like sugar sculptures of their day, use sweet as spectacle. For New Year’s Eve in 2013 in London, in collaboration with food technology experts and pyrotechnicians, they created a multisensory firework display, in which revelers smelled and tasted fruity mists and edible banana confetti matched to the fireworks (all, of course, both halal and kosher). They must have been influenced by the description of a 1549 feast to welcome Philip II to the Netherlands, in which guests were led to an “enchanted hall” at midnight, where sugar collation descended from the ceiling, along with hail and perfumed rain made from sugar candy.