30 Nov Purple Candy Peaks
The theme of this weeks #FriFotos is Peaks. We have hiked mountains and hills, and climbed to the top of many tall towers, but a different type of peak that we came to enjoy recently, was fairly small and consumed at ground level. The cuberdon candies in Ghent resemble mini cone-shaped mountains–they are purple cones made of sugar, and inside contain a burst of a thick, sugary, raspberry syrup. Cuberdons are quite popular in Ghent, but there are very few candy makers that know the secret recipe, which dates back to the 19th century. The recipe consists of sugar, fruit flavor and gum arabica; the outside of the candy is formed when the sugar in the mix turns into a shell around the syrup inside, and because the sugar continues to slowly harden throughout, the candies have a short shelf life of about 8 weeks. After about 8 weeks, the candy is no longer good as it is hard all the way through. Because of the short shelf life of the product and the fact that the cuberdons are fragile, they are almost impossible to export, and therefore, pretty much unknown outside of Belgium.
We bought our cuberdons from a small candy shop, Jacqlin, not far away from the Groentenmarkt in Ghent. The shop owners were decorating for Christmas when we arrived at their shop–they were very friendly and fun to chat with. We ended up staying for quite awhile discussing everything from the history of cuberdons and what they are made of, to the different regions of Belgium, and even some politics since the United States presidential elections were being held the next day.
At first, when I tasted the cuberdons, I wasn’t sure what to think. They were fairly gummy on the outside and the syrup inside was very thick. I nibbled on the cone for awhile and eventually finished one piece, as each candy is large and very, very sweet. It was almost too sweet for me to handle, but then the taste started to grow on me and I actually ended up really liking cuberdons. Speaking of which, I am starting to crave one right now…too bad they don’t export!
Cuberdons can be purchased at most any chocolate shop in Ghent as well as from carts in the Groentenmarkt. Supposedly, there was a “cuberdon war” one year between the two carts in the picture below. I’m not sure what this “war” entailed or who won, but I would hardly think anyone could lose when trying one of these sugary treats, especially since they use natural ingredients to produce them!