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Bonbon, a French word for ‘sweet’, was taken up by English towards the end of the eighteenth century (‘Clarendel, lounging upon a chair in the middle of the shop, sat eating bon bons,’ Mme D'Arblay, Camilla, 1796), and probably reached its heyday as a more delicate alternative to the foursquare sweet in the late Victorian and Edwardian eras, when bonbonnières (small decorated boxes for holding sweets) graced fashionable sideboards and tables. Nowadays the term is usually reserved specifically for soft sweets consisting of a fondant- or chocolate-coated fondant centre, often containing nuts, dried fruits, etc. Bonbon was originally a French nursery term, a reduplication of bon, ‘good’, and hence is virtually the equivalent of English goodie-goodie.

Subjects: Cookery, Food, and Drink.

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