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A Potted History of Bonfire Toffee

A Potted History of Bonfire Toffee

A Potted History of Bonfire Toffee

The Toffee Shop Bonfire Treacle Toffee

We are already getting excited about the onset of Autumn – there is something so comforting about digging those cosy scarfs out, the smell of smoke on the breeze, and hearing the crunch of leaves underfoot. Thoughts inevitably turn to Bonfire Night and the hotly anticipated, unadulterated joy of sticky toffee and hot dogs eaten in the dark beneath a breath-taking display of shimmering lights.

The association with bonfires and Guy Fawkes Night makes bonfire toffee a seasonal delight, enjoyed by families gathered around bonfires on chilly November evenings. The taste of treacle toffee is transformative. Just thinking about that flavour: robust, creamy yet with a hint of bitterness, conjures the smoky aroma of bonfires, the bundling up in layers against the sharp night air and the anticipation of a dazzling display of fireworks.

We did a lot of research, but nobody really seems to know exactly why or when the association between treacle toffee and Guy Fawkes Night began! From about 1830 to 1900, bonfire, or treacle toffee was particularly popular in Yorkshire. Could it have been because Guy Fawkes went to school in York?- Funnily enough he went to the same school as my Dad and Brother, although obviously not at the same time! 😊. Treacle toffee was actually usually a home-made confectionery. Although industrial manufacturing of confectionery had begun in the 1840s, the price of black treacle in the 1890s and first decade of the 20th century often rose above the price of sugar, which made store-bought toffee too expensive for many. Even in the 1960s, it was common for the elders in a neighbourhood to make treacle toffee to hand out to children on Guy Fawkes Night.

Treacle toffee has enjoyed many names over the years and across the UK. As well as bonfire toffee it has also been known as cinder toffee, plot toffee and Tom Trot! No, we’re not sure why either.  It’s known as Claggum in Scotland and Loshin Du in Wales.

Over the years, many have put their unique spin on the traditional treacle toffee recipe. We are talking everything from nuts to spices and even chocolate coatings. We have to say we are purists. Why mess with something so utterly perfect?! Just remember, bonfire toffee is not just for Guy Fawkes! Many of our customers starting the new year and relish its distinctive taste all the way through ‘til Christmas!!

In a world where there are literally thousands of different kinds of sweets, bonfire toffee continues to hold a special place in the hearts of those who appreciate its historical significance and unique bold taste. Whether enjoyed during bonfire celebrations or as a comforting winter treat, treacle toffee remains a delicious connection to centuries-old traditions.

Rich, buttery and deliciously dark – our treacle toffee has just a hint of bitterness to perfectly offset the decadent creamy flavour and chewy texture- There’s definitely nothing manufactured about our Toffee, which is all handmade, using brass jam pans Have we made your mouth water now? If you’d like a treacle treat bag like those in the picture, they are available to buy in The Toffee Shop and at some of our local stockists.

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Established in 1997, Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland, (Hospice at Home) is a registered charity providing high quality, palliative care and support to patients, family members and carers affected by life limiting illness.