What Is Candy Floss?
Cotton Candy, Fairy Floss, Papa's Beard, Ghosts Breath. Many names from around the world for the same thing. Spun sugar confectionary.
A mixture of sugar, with flavouring and colouring is poured into the centre of a floss machine. This central drum rotates at high speed and heats the mixture to around 186 degrees centigrade. This is the melting point of sugar.
As the sugar melts the liquid oozes through the mesh surrounding the central drum and is flung out at high speed. As it exits the drum it solidifies into long thin strands, thinner than a human hair.
Because of the speed at which it happens, you don't actually see this happening. What you see is candy floss magically appearing around the perimiter of the bowl, almost like magic.
The operator uses a stick, or in some countries a thin paper cone, to collect the floss by winding it into a cone shape.
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It seems a little perverse, that a treat, made pretty much entirely from pure sugar would be invented by dentists.
In fairness, although it sounds bad, the fact is that most of the floss is air. The actual calorific value on a typical serving of candy floss gives it one of the lowest values of most treats you would find on the fairground. A mere 105 calories is all you would be eating.
Because the sugar cools so rapidly it doesn't re-crystallize, instead it forms a disorganised amorphous solid, basically you are eating the sugar version of glass.
Candy Floss today, is made pretty much exactly the same was as it was 100 years ago. The machines are more modern, quieter and more reliable, but pretty much work exactly the same as the early versions.
There is a wider choice of flavours available, including things like prosecco and gin and tonic. It's also possible to add branding to the actual candy floss, along with additional decoration such as mini spiders for halloween, snowflakes for Christmas.