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Parma Violets

Sweets

Small, round, soft-sugar pastilles, bright lilac in colour, strongly scented and flavoured with flower essences.

2014


This is probably the last survival of an 18th century apothecaries' breath-freshening tablet. Though they also seem to have had other uses too; John Quincy's 'Complete English Dispensary' of 1742 suggests making a suppository for children from that "most commonly what the Confectioners sell by the Name of a Violet Comfit. They are first dipped in Oil or just rubbed over with a little Butter to ease their Passage."

The flavouring agent (as in the receipt below) is not traditionally violet flowers, but the similar-smelling 'Orris' root of flowers of the iris family.


Original Receipt from 'Cyclopedia of Practical Receipts', 1891

VIOLET LOZENGES
Rx
      Orris powder 1 ounce
      Gum Arabic 1 ounce
      White sugar 2 pounds
Make into a thick paste with the following
Rx
      Cochineal 1 drachm
      Water 1 quart
Macerate for two days



Enlarge
Morning Post - Tuesday 22 March 1881





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