Dreaming of Desserts

History of Desserts and a Modern Guide

When you think of a dessert, what comes to mind?  Something decadent?  Something sweet?

Dreaming of Desserts - RoudiGourmand

A "dessert" is a meal course that traditionally comes after dinner, though many people enjoy desserts throughout the day. While most dessert foods are sweet, some can also be more savory such as cheese plates, avocado cream and ube ice cream.

The world dessert comes from the Old French word,deservir, which means “to serve well.” Often times in the English language, the culinary word dessert is confused with the word desert (note only one "s"), which is a barren piece of land normally with sand as soil. A fun way to remember the spelling difference: you want more dessert, so you want one more “s!”

The first sweet treat is considered to have originated in ancient civilizations where people ate fruit or nuts rolled in honey. In the Western world, the history of desserts is closely tied to sugar. Due to sugar’s rarity and high cost, desserts were primarily enjoyed by wealthy aristocrats or as a rare holiday treat by those in the working class.

It wasn't until the late nineteenth century with the rise of the middle class, the massive sugar plantations in the New World along with the rise in beet sugar, and the mechanization of the sugar industry that the privilege of sweets extended to the general public. As sugar became more affordable and accessible, so did the development and popularity of desserts.

In modern times, desserts and dessert recipes are extremely popular. You can find photos of over-the-top and drool-inducing desserts on every social media channel such as RudiGourmand’s social media:  Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Because of their wide spread popularity there are even some restaurants that specialize in desserts such as the 12 Nutella Cafes around the world, the restaurants of famous French macaron maker Laduree, and the Better than Sex restaurant chain in the US.

Television shows capturing the allure of desserts have popped up as well. Shows include Chef’s Table: Pastry and The Great British Bake Off.

Most cultures have a unique distinction between the main savory course and the sweet course. However, this is not true in some cuisines such Thai dishes like Hor Mok Ma Prow Awn which mixes seafood with coconut and lime or like the American dish waffles and fried chicken.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

According to Eat This, Not That! some of the most iconic desserts in the United States include:

  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Apple pie
  • Cheesecake
  • Pecan pie
  • Carrot cake
  • Ice cream
  • Boston cream pie
  • Banana pudding
  • Baked Alaska
  • Buckeyes

Mochi Japanese Dessert

According to tasteatlas, the ten most popular desserts in the world are:

  • Mochi from Japan
  • Cupcakes from the Unites States
  • Brownies from the United States
  • Mousse from France
  • Wagashi from Japan
  • Milkshakes from the United States
  • Donuts from the Unites States
  • Macarons from France
  • Tiramisu from Italy
  • Fudge from the United States

Buying delicious desserts has never been easier.  With a quick internet search and a few clicks, you can order sweet Lokum from Turkey, Calissons from France, and decadent chocolate from Costa Rica.  If you’re interested in global small-batch produced sweet treats, check out international purveyor RudiGourmand! And if you’re importing desserts into the United States, automating the FDA prior notice process has never been easier with RudiCoder’s PriorNotify.


Do you like desserts? Tell us about your favorite dessert!