Desserts, Sweets and ‘’Afters’’ – What’s the Difference?

Mar 31 20:19 2016 Lisa Jeeves Print This Article

We had dessert, my friends had afters and others had a sweet. Why so many words for the same thing – or are they the same?

When I was a kid,Guest Posting after a special meal we always had dessert. But some of my friends didn’t have “dessert” – they had “afters”. Others had a sweet and a few even had pudding. Way back then, I remember being jealous of my friends who had pudding because it sounded so much better than “dessert”. Of course, now I realise that, in fact, they were all one and the same thing – the final course of a meal.

Dessert: A Formal Affair

Well, strictly speaking, at least as far as most people see it – there is no difference. But semantically and professionally in the wholesale sweets trade there is a big difference.

But first, let’s take a closer look at the dessert. Traditionally it’s associated with something sweet. It can be cold like ice cream, or hot as in apple pie. It can be a rich Black Forest gateau or even after dinner mints. But a cheese plate with a selection of cheeses and savoury biscuits is also a dessert as is a selection of seasonal fruits. The difference is in how we perceive the words and the context we use them in. For example, in our house, if I was to tell the kids that dessert was cheese and crackers – they’d say that I was “crackers” and that they want some ice cream. But at a dinner party for friends, serving up a cheese plate would be totally acceptable as a dessert.

A Difference in Presentation

As suppliers of wholesale sweets, when we refer to sweets we generally mean toffees, fruit drops and all sorts of other confectionery – not dessert (or pudding or afters). Our sweets are packaged and sold as individual treats to be eaten as a snack when on the road, watching TV or to give us some energy before a game of football. The last thing you’d expect to get for dessert after dinner would be some liquorice allsorts!

Another thing differentiating sweets from dessert is the way we each them. In most cases, dessert is eaten with some sort of cutlery – a spoon, fork, or what have you. A sweet, on the other hand, is eaten with our hands. Sweets are a much more casual affair. Chocolates and bonbons, though not ‘sweets’ per se, are often eaten on a similarly casual basis.

Blurring the Lines

One of the latest trends in wholesale sweets is an attempt to blur the lines between the treats that we buy in the shop as a snack and the desserts we’re used to eating after the main course.

One great example is produced by Montezuma’s, a boutique chocolate manufacturer that produces fine quality chocolates for the sophisticated palate. Montezuma’s is changing the way its customers eat dessert by putting beloved flavours into a portable (and shareable!) chocolate bar.

They have a range of “British Pudding Bars” that celebrate the traditional British pudding but in a delicious, mouth-watering chocolate bar. Wrapped in a Union Jack, you can choose from Eton Mess, Apple Crumble, Lemon Merengue, Spotted Dick, Summer Pudding or Treacle Tart.

Now if they can only find a way to add some hot custard…

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Lisa Jeeves
Lisa Jeeves

Angelina Moufftard works for hf Chocolates, established wholesale sweets suppliers with decades of experience supplying sweets and high-end chocolates to retailers across the UK. Working with the most dedicated suppliers from France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Belgium, the USA and the UK, hf Chocolates' great tasting and beautifully packaged products add panache to any sweet display.

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