Spun sugar has been a treat around the world for centuries. But it wasn't until a dentist -- of all people -- named Dr. William Morrison and confectioner John C. Wharton invented a machine in 1897 that brought cotton candy as we know it to the masses at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904. It was initially known as "fairy floss," but another dentist -- of all people -- Dr. Josef Lascaux, popularized the name "cotton candy." A mainstay at county fairs, where food on a stick reigns, cotton candy has come a long way. Here are some of the craziest culinary twists on this old favorite.
10 Over-the-Top Cotton Candy Treats
Always looking for ways to dazzle us with more magic, Disney theme parks now welcome visitors with glow-in-the-dark cotton candy. The captivating treat is illuminated by a wand that flashes a rainbow of colors throughout the surrounding fluffs. It's been seen at Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Shanghai Disneyland. (Check out these tips for enjoying a Disney trip on a budget.)
Don't lose your head over this decadent dessert inspired by Marie Antoinette. At the Barton G. restaurants in Los Angeles and Miami, it is known as Let Them Eat Cake, an over-the-top dish featuring a towering 2-foot high bubblegum cotton candy pompadour on top of a mannequin's head. It is served with retro candy, a bananas Foster panna cotta, and souvenir sunglasses.
Many things have been miniaturized in Japan, but a cotton candy maker with locations in Tokyo and elsewhere has gone the opposite direction. At Totti Candy Factory, you can find enormous cotton candy that's made with up to five colors and spun way larger than your head. They even have warning signs to keep customers from accidentally hitting each other because it blocks your view.
At CottonHi in Los Angeles, you can top your soft serve with organic cotton candy that comes in six flavors: strawberry, lemonade, double mint, chocolate, salted caramel, and coffee. They'll even top it with candy or drizzle espresso over it as well. And at Sweet Jesus in Toronto, the Krusty The Cone features vanilla soft serve surrounded by tufts of blue and pink cotton candy and covered with sprinkles and cotton candy sauce.
Sometimes cotton candy calls for a bit of decadence. At The Bazaar by José Andrés in Beverly Hills and South Beach, the wildly creative chef offers a small puff of vanilla cotton candy wrapped around a cube of rich foie gras as a playful treat. Vegetarians can opt for a cube of avocado for a similar sweet-savory combination.
For those looking to taste cotton candy without any of the calories, sugar or, well, cotton candy, there's the Edible Mist Orbs. These glowing sci-fi spheres emit a fine mist that you inhale through a straw to taste hundreds of flavors -- including cotton candy -- without actually eating anything.
Forget those classic pink and blue puffballs, cotton candy these days comes in tons of fun colors and shapes thanks to some creative spinners around the world. Cloud Food Creations uses several different cotton candy colors to create elaborate designs, including flowers, hearts and cartoon characters. And Pouf Cotton Candy Art makes everything from pineapples to unicorns out of cotton candy.
If you're looking for the taste and color of cotton candy, but with a big splash of calcium, look no further than Shatto Milk Company in Missouri and Nutcher Milk in California. The dairies offer a variety of flavored milks, including -- you guessed it -- cotton candy. Or if you prefer to flavor your own cotton candy milk at home, Milk Magic has liquid infusions and straws you can use.
For the grownups who are still kids at heart, you'll want to keep an eye out for champagne topped with cotton candy. Bon Puf flavors in Los Angeles offers innovative, artisanal cotton candy flavors including champagne flavored Sweet Bubbly, which by request can be served atop actual bubbly.
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