Tis the season for people to send tasty gifts through the mail to their loved ones, but what should be sent? Figi’s offers a variety of delicious options, such as meat and cheese packages, cookies, gift baskets, and one of our favorites – fruitcake. So how and where did fruitcakes first originate? It is definitely an interesting tale which is fitting for this holiday season.
Egyptians actually created the first version of a fruitcake. They were placed on tombs of friends and relatives in hopes that their dead acquaintances could survive on the fruitcake on their journey to the afterlife.
In Roman times, fruitcake served as a great way to fuel the Roman army as the ingredients of most of these cakes gave the soldiers a huge energy boost. With a combination of barley mash, raisins, pine nuts, and pomegranate seeds, these fruitcakes were a portable, long-lasting, and relatively light energy source that was extremely efficient for fighting and traveling armies.
In their search for the Holy Grail, even the Crusaders utilized these energizing treats while also incorporating additional ingredients such as fruits, honey, and spices. For this reason, the fruitcakes became much heavier.
During the 18th century, the fruitcake became increasingly more popular as every year when the nut harvest had finished, a fruitcake was made and saved until the beginning of the next year’s harvest hoping to secure another successful harvest. Yet, later in the 18th century, fruitcake (also called plum cakes) was outlawed throughout continental Europe because it was considered “sinfully rich”.
And finally, in more recent times, an interesting custom in England for unmarried wedding guests was to put a slice of fruitcake under their pillow at nights so they would dream of the person they would marry. Speaking of weddings, fruitcake has even made some royal appearances as it was at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. So don’t forget to dine with royalty this holiday season, and pass on this great, tasty fruitcake tradition to your friends and family!