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Cotton Candy’s Flavor Revolution

Cotton candy has come a long way since its invention in 1897. Not only has its name changed from “Fairy Floss” (the name “cotton candy” didn’t catch on until the 1920s), but its production method has also changed with the invention new technology, and in more recent years, cotton candy makers have gotten a lot more creative in terms of flavors.

Although cotton candy was originally spun by hand, in the 1970s, the first automatic cotton candy machine was built. This machine made it easier to make and sell cotton candy at fairs, carnivals, stores, etc.

In recent years, the biggest innovations in the cotton candy world have to do with the multitude of different flavors that are now available. This “flavor revolution” is in part thanks to the gourmet food trend and the reimagining of foods like cotton candy, once restricted mostly to events like carnivals, as gourmet treats to be enjoyed year-round.

Pink-vanilla was the original cotton candy flavor, but today, cotton candy runs the gamut of flavors (and colors). Mint, bubble gum, piña colada, sour apple, tropical fruit, lemon, lime, banana, grape, cherry, watermelon, raspberry, and chocolate (including chocolate variations like chocolate-cherry, chocolate-strawberry, and chocolate-orange) are just a few. For some cotton candy makers, even wilder flavors like pistachio and fois gras are not out of the question.

Maple cotton candy and bacon cotton candy are two of the newest gourmet cotton candy flavors to hit the market. In the past year or so, these trendy new flavors have taken off in a major way. Maple cotton candy is considered such a special sweet treat that some people are starting to serve it up at weddings and other special events, and bacon cotton candy can be seen as part of the larger trend of “bacon everything.” Read the story about how Gold Medal Products and Dominic “The Midway Gourmet” Palmieri perfected the recipe for bacon cotton candy.

All in all, while cotton candy has come a long way over the years, from “carnival treat” to “gourmet eat,” it has maintained its classic appeal, which it probably why it’s remained so popular over the years. Although there are now countless flavors to choose from, cotton candy still hits the taste buds in the same light, heavenly way it has for more than a century. For this reason, cotton candy is poised to remain a hit for centuries to come.