Malteser – Marshmallow

Does marshmallow have a flavour actually? It just kind of tastes like sweet doesn’t it?

Hardly surprising as marshmallow is literally sugar and gelatin and water whipped into a semi solid fluffy, airy foam.

But a marshmallow is also a mallow plant that grows in the marsh.

Ancient Egyptians would use the root of the marsh-mallow plant mixed with honey (boiled then cooled until thick) to soothe sore throats and coughs as well as being used as a salve to help heal wounds. This medicine was considered beneficial, but more important to our discussion it was pleasant to eat.

By the 1800’s French folk were whipping up their own fluffy medicinal candy called ‘Pâte de Guimauve’ (which translates loosely to: ‘sh1t paste made from mallow of the marsh’) by adding dried marsh-mallow root to sugar and water and eggs. The mixture (or ‘sh1t’ as it was more commonly known) was then sold in a soft, spongy, bar called a lozenge.

Back then ‘lozenge’ meant a four sided rhombus like the diamond shape on a playing card, and the manufacture of throat medicine in this shape led to our use of the word as a medicated tablet dissolved in the mouth to soothe the throat.

Now, I know you are all thinking that I have really outdone myself today and risen to a new level of creative bullsh1t with these obviously falsehoods I am audaciously dropping like a sick man drops a medicinal tablet down his throat, but it is all true.

Of course the modern marshmallows we eat are mostly sugar, water and some type of protein to give it consistency, but the origin is one of the more interesting I have had the chance to look into.

Turns out marshmallows do have a taste other than sweet – as I ate these I was surprised that they actually did taste like marshmallow and the airy nature of the Maltesers innards went perfectly with this taste. Perhaps marshmallows taste of sugar and air? Maybe a tiny hint of vanilla?

Marsh-teser – 7/10

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