2020 The Historical Journal  
Scholarly interest in early modern sweets has focused on the central role of these food products as markers of social distinction and conspicuous consumption in elite contexts, mainly centred on northern Europe and Italy. Less fully understood are the ways in which the increasing demand for sugar and sweets informed their production and marketing at local levels, in particular in non-courtly urban areas. This article examines the legal case against the baker Josep Cortés, accused of making and
more » ... used of making and selling sponge biscuits in violation of the privilege of confectioners in late seventeenth-century Barcelona. It addresses how confectioners and bakers materially and discursively defined their products based on the use of certain ingredients, utensils, and skill. This article also illustrates a shift from a generic idea of sweetness to one which was explicitly linked to sugar in the period when sugar was becoming a semi-affordable commodity in Europe. By addressing diverse source materials including court records, printed cookbooks, handwritten recipes, and inventories, this case study exemplifies the significant material and cultural dimensions that sugar adopted during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
doi:10.1017/s0018246x2000028x fatcat:saop4tm7prbnrmt2cpk2mtnj7e