The Sweet Makers ep.1

Four modern confectioners recreate the treats of the past, from a Tudor sugar banquet to giant Easter eggs, and discover the roots of our national sweet tooth.


Four modern-day confectioners step back in time to discover what life was like for their Tudor predecessors. They explore how our national sweet tooth developed as the tables of the aristocracy now boasted fantastic displays of sugarcraft to show off their wealth and status. The sweetmakers also explore the negative side of the introduction of sugar to the Tudor lifestyle, including the impact on teeth and fuelling our involvement in the most shameful chapters in British history - the slave trade.

Guided by food historian Dr Annie Gray and social historian Emma Dabiri, our modern professionals are entering the world of the 16th-century confectioner - a time when sugar was believed to have medicinal qualities and was so valuable it was kept under lock and key. Sugar was the preserve of the elite so every dish the team makes forms part of an elaborate aristocratic sugar banquet.

Our confectioners are chocolatier Paul A Young, wedding cake designer Cynthia Stroud, sweet consultant Andy Baxendale and chocolatier Diana Short. They spend four days using original recipes, ingredients and equipment to create dishes that haven't been made, let alone tasted, for hundreds of years.

Their final lavish sugar banquet includes candied roses (believed to cure gonorrhea), a sweet candied root that was considered to be a Tudor aphrodisiac, sugar plates and goblets, gorgeously decorated marzipan and a spectacular model banqueting house made entirely of sugar.

The Sweet Makers ep.1
The Sweet Makers ep.1