Can sweets be good for you? Could it be that a sweet is the ideal instrument to generate a value-based food movement? These are the questions that chef Andoni Luis Adúriz (Mugaritz restaurant) and the sociologist Iñaki Martínez de Albéniz (University of País Vasco), have asked themselves and as a response have decided to launch a research project called “The Candy Project”, with the collaboration of the international Slow Food network and the University of Gastronomic Science in Polenza (Italy).
The idea for this project is to bring the memory of sweets back to life, tracing its historical evolution, its relationship with education, events in childhood, and finally their textures and flavours. In essence, there is a great deal to study about sweets, which currently have a bad public image. And this is despite the fact that, historically, research shows that sweets were first used for their nutritional value and then only later used as a tool for rewarding or praising children.
Andoni Luis Adúriz points out that it was only a short time ago that people noticed the parallels between gastronimic cultural references and children’s sweets. “We are not focusing on the interaction of the child with sweets, even though this is important. In the end, it is more about the formation of a child’s capacity to taste during the first phases of life, and all that this implies.”
The project consists of two parts: one more theoretical or aimed at generating more knowledge about sweets, and the other more technical and practical aimed at social innovation and other positive interventions. It is expected to receive much support from people involved in the international Slow Food movement, which exists in all parts of the world, to help bring together information about the idiosynchracies in the world of sweets in all the different countries. This field work will then permit the categorization and analysis of sweets at the conceptual, organoleptic and nutritional level. All of which will provide sufficient information to develop a “World Map” of sweets.