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The History of Dragees

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The History of Dragees

When you enter the New Farm Confectionery flagship store your eyes are drawn to our beautiful confectionery cabinet filled with chocolate covered nuts, freeze dried fruits and other delicious centers.

Taking a glance into the window, you can take a peek into our kitchens where you will usually see two 'panning' machines on our benches. Watch as the thin ribbons of luxurious milk, dark and white chocolate are being streamed into the machines to create our amazing Dragees.

Sugar panning or simply 'panning' is the process of building layers of chocolate or crystalized sugar onto a candy or nut center. Panning is carried out in a rotating pan called a dragee pan but you could make your own dragees using a cake tin and some tempered chocolate if you want to. The first mechanized panning machine was believed to have been created in 1836, before that everything was panned by hand.

Oddly enough, when we take a step back in time, records show the method of panning was first used in the pharmaceutical industry back in 1100 to make medicines easier to swallow. Jump forward a few years in time and sweet ingredients such as honey and sugar started to become involved in the panning process, sugar panning was born! It was at this point in history that the fun began and something sweet was on the rise.

There are 3 main stages of panning;

1. Pre-treatment of the center: The nut or candy is processed with a protective layer to assist in the panning stage and prolong the shelf life.

2. Chocolate/candy panning: The building and layering of chocolate or candy layers to form dragees.

3. Polishing and Sealing: This stage adds a glossy shine to the product.

Some of the first ever confectionery-coated pieces were believed to have been made in the year 1200 in France. It is said that in France dragees became famous for their ability to increase fertility. Many dragees started to make an appearance at family events, weddings, christenings and from the 16th century onwards, they were also found on the tables of princes. 

To this day dragees are being made all over the world. They can vary from fruit or nut centers, caramels, liquid centers, nougat pieces and many more! Dragees are a very diverse product and can be made with so many flavour combinations, the creativity is endless.

Visit us in store to try