Eye candy and other sweet treats
Bridgerton, Netflix’s hit Regency romp based on the romance novels series by Julia Quinn, may be garnering attention for its steamy sex scenes but there’s another aspect I can’t keep my eyes off. For this visual feast of candy colours also includes a profusion of delectable looking confectionery that matches vivid hues of the show’s costumes, interiors and flowers.
Cakes, puddings and other sweet treats can be spotted in what feels like every other scene throughout the series set among London high society in 1813. Tables are crammed with candied fruits, marzipan, jellies, meringues, moulded blancmange, pyramids of macarons and towers of profiteroles. Children dart between them at picnics and receptions, grabbing a drop scone here and there. At a royal garden party, footmen offer trays of creamy syllabubs in glass dishes while at the final ball of the season, maids descend the stairs carrying icing sugar-coated sponges.
A plot sweetener
Not only is confectionery incorporated into the show’s signature voice over – the Regency version of Gossip Girl, Lady Whistledown (voiced by Julie Andrews), narrates; “The fastest courtship upon record secured a betrothal over a plate of sugared almonds and liquorice in just four and a half minutes” – at times it’s part of the plot itself (spoilers ahead).
When debutante Daphne Bridgerton, and the eligible Simon, Duke of Hastings, meet alone in public for the first time it’s at Gunter’s Tea Shop, purveyor of tantalising advertised “Cakes and Biscuits, Jellies and Candies, Syrups and Caramels”. Although filmed on location in Bath, Gunter’s was a real-life fashionable Georgian establishment on London’s Berkeley Square where the ton (Regency high society) flocked for ices.
History does not record whether any Regency buck lasciviously licked his ice cream spoon as Simon did, much to the audience’s delight, while Daphne looked on like the cat who got the cream. At this point, we’re convinced their attraction is not just a show as they claim it is, yet in a later scene outside Gunter’s Simon abruptly calls off “the arrangement” with Daphne.
Tea at Clyvedon
The sophisticated and wealthy Bridgerton family’s “Wedgewood blue” drawing room is a constant source of confectionery. Daphne’s feminist sister Eloise finds comfort sitting in the middle of the blue and gold sofa tucking into a matching tin of sweets. Not a coincidence since each family in the series was assigned a colour scheme by the production designers.
Daphne’s mother Lady Bridgerton greets her daughter’s first suitor, Lord Berbrooke: “May I help you to some freshly prepared biscuits?”
Not sure about modern-day etiquette, here are 14 etiquette rules are keepers, regardless of the era.