Sweetened foods were something very rare in the Middle Ages and early modern times. And without the Romans, there would have been even fewer sweets in the Lower Rhine: they made fruit growing popular in the region almost 2,000 years ago. The apples, plums or grapes they first cultivated here could be cooked into jelly and used to sweeten dishes. Then in the High Middle Ages, merchants brought cane sugar from the Orient to Europe. Sugar was a luxury good at that time. But those who could afford it ate candied fruits and nuts as a "confect" to round off an opulent feast.
At the beginning of the 19th century, a veritable explosion of taste set in! With the beginning of industrialization, sugar became cheaper and cheaper. Confectioneries sprang up all over the Rhineland, with cakes being one of their specialties, and Neuss was no exception. In 1826, Carl Herkenrath opened a confectionery here, offering a customer "bisquit, orange, citron, Viennese, Swiss and punch cakes of all kinds".
With the cultivation of the newly bred sugar beet, sugar became a product that more and more people could afford beginning in the mid-19th century. From candies to milk chocolate to ice cream, numerous new sweets flooded the market, allowing customers to make a variety of discoveries in a new taste territory.
Large confectionery companies soon settled in the Lower Rhine region, one of the main sugar beet growing areas. Neuss became a center of the Rhenish confectionery industry. Among the well-known producers was the "Zuckerwarenfabrik Otto Mayser," founded in 1881, which primarily manufactured candies and lollipops. The cocoa and chocolate manufacturer Novesia achieved international importance.
Founded in 1860 by pharmacist Peter Ferdinand Feldhaus, the chocolate factory experienced the heyday of its 120-year history in the 1960s. Among its best-known products was the "Novesia Goldnuss-Schokolade" with a guaranteed 27 whole hazelnuts.
The exhibition was part of the theme year "NEULAND - Terra incognita" of the museums, associations and archives united in the Rhine-Meuse Cultural History Museum Network.
the Landschaftsverband Rheinland, the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Kultu(u)rnetzwerk Rheinmaas.