Pretty sure at this moment you still know what a fairy floss is. We know it as the cotton candy we all loved when we were kids, remember? Here are some fun facts about this sweet fluffy cloud we may have known only now because we’re so focused on its sweetness and puffiness.
Fun Fact #1: There was no other colour for Fairy Floss before but white (like cotton).
We typically see the classic cotton candy with the iconic light pink colour sold around. Actually, the sugar used in making fairy floss is white. But then, astute entrepreneurs thought about adding colours to attract more buyers.
Back in the 20th century, it was a common practice to add flavour and colour to the sugar prior to the spinning process. Today, there’s not only pink-coloured fairy floss but there are about 15 different colours used – neon blue, neon green, neon purple, neon pink, dark cotton candy, cotton candy grape, candy pink #2, cotton fluff, lavender candy, cotton candy yellow, watermelon candy, candy pink #ff63e9, candy #ff9b87, hard candy and cotton candy #ffbcd9.
But just a thought – do you think it would still be fashionable to see only the white fairy floss delights today? Surely, in 1897, there was no other colour but white, with the confection’s white appearance resembling that of white cotton or cloud from where it got its original name – cotton candy!
Fun Fact #2: The man who invented Fairy Floss was a dentist (who hated tooth decay).
Did you know that the white fairy floss originated in the US? A dentist named Dr. William Morrison from Nashville and another confectioner, John C. Wharton, were the first to bring the fairy floss into the world in 1897 by inventing a machine that spun sugar and then blew it through a fine screen. Such an invention was presented at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 and amazingly sold more than 68,000 boxes. The price? Twenty-five cents per candy!
Just a thought – isn’t it ironic that a dentist was the maker of the first-ever cotton candy?
Fun Fact #3: Fairy Floss is famous around the world, but you may not recognise it in another country because it has a different alias (beard, hair, and more!).
Astonishingly, the white fairy floss comes in many different names in different countries.
- Cotton candy – United States
- Candy floss – India, United Kingdom
- Fairy floss – Finland, Australia
- Barbe à papa – France; it means ‘Papa’s Beard’ in English
- Old ladies’ hair – Greece
- Suikerspin – Netherlands; it means ‘Sugar Spider’ in English
- Pashmak – Iran but is popularly marketed as Persian Fairy Floss
- Ngathrek golop lhakpa – Bhutan; it means spun sugar with butter tea and chilli pepper
- Dragon’s beard candy – China with the addition of peanuts and coconut but the texture resembles horsehair
There are also places that call it ‘girl’s hair’ or ‘grandma’s hair. But whatever name you call it, it’s still the same delight consisting of sugar and nothing else, not even fat but with the incorporation of lots of air.
In Australia, if you want to taste a different sugar kick, we recommend the vanilla white fairy floss from this Persian store.