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A Tudor Treat

Episode 1 of 3

Four modern-day confectioners recreate a Tudor sugar banquet and discover how the quest to satisfy the nation's sweet tooth transformed Britain.

Four modern-day confectioners step back in time to discover what life was like for their Tudor predecessors. They explore how our national sweet tooth developed as the tables of the aristocracy now boasted fantastic displays of sugarcraft to show off their wealth and status. The sweetmakers also explore the negative side of the introduction of sugar to the Tudor lifestyle, including the impact on teeth and fuelling our involvement in the most shameful chapters in British history - the slave trade.

Guided by food historian Dr Annie Gray and social historian Emma Dabiri, our modern professionals are entering the world of the 16th-century confectioner - a time when sugar was believed to have medicinal qualities and was so valuable it was kept under lock and key. Sugar was the preserve of the elite so every dish the team makes forms part of an elaborate aristocratic sugar banquet.

Our confectioners are chocolatier Paul A Young, wedding cake designer Cynthia Stroud, sweet consultant Andy Baxendale and chocolatier Diana Short. They spend four days using original recipes, ingredients and equipment to create dishes that haven't been made, let alone tasted, for hundreds of years.

Their final lavish sugar banquet includes candied roses (believed to cure gonorrhea), a sweet candied root that was considered to be a Tudor aphrodisiac, sugar plates and goblets, gorgeously decorated marzipan and a spectacular model banqueting house made entirely of sugar.

59 minutes

Last on

Wed 29 May 2019 15:15

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Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:52

    Dick Walter



Role Contributor
Interviewed Guest Andy Baxendale
Interviewed Guest Jelena Bekvalac
Interviewed Guest Hugh Cumberbatch
Interviewed Guest Diana Short
Interviewed Guest Cynthia Stroud
Interviewed Guest Paul A Young
Presenter Emma Dabiri
Presenter Annie Gray
Costume designer Heidi Miller
Makeup Artist Isabel While
Expert James Walvin
Director of photography Louis Caulfield
Sound Adam Scourfield
Runner Alice Judge
Production Secretary Emma Marks
Production Coordinator Gemma Templar
Production Manager Emily Assael
Editor Dilesh Korya
Executive Producer Emily Shields
Director Helen Nixon
Series Producer Helen Nixon
Production Company Wall to Wall Media