Sugar Sculpture

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

sugar sculpture, the practice of molding and modeling sugar into dramatic forms, has delighted diners for centuries. Few materials are more transitory in nature than sugar. Despite its ephemeral qualities, this substance has been used for at least a thousand years to create edible art and miniature architecture for the table, often as an expression of status, power, and extravagance. Though short-lived, these works were often significant features of prestigious events such as coronation banquets, sacred feasts, and military triumphs. No historical sugar sculptures have survived, but enough archival material, in the form of written descriptions, illustrations, and tools, exists for us to gain at least a fragmentary understanding of their magnificence.