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英國“最古老糖果店”里的古早味甘草糖

更新時間:2019/9/15 8:45:37 來源:紐約時報中文網 作者:佚名

The strange story of Britain's oldest sweet
英國“最古老糖果店”里的古早味甘草糖

At 11:00 in Pateley Bridge, on a damp, soft-focused Yorkshire day, The Oldest Sweet Shop in England, as rated by Guinness World Records, was already in the midst of its regular midmorning rush. At the counter, all grins and punchy one-liners, owner Keith Tordoff was measuring out quarter-pound bags of sweets from 200-odd glass confectioner’s jars stacked high on the wall behind him.

約克郡(Yorkshire)一個天氣潮濕霧蒙蒙的日子,上午11點,在佩特里橋(Pateley Bridge)的一家糖果店,這正是每天上午生意最繁忙的時候。這家店名叫“英格蘭最古老糖果店”(The Oldest Sweet Shop in England),名副其實,還上了吉尼斯世界紀錄大全(Guinness World Records)。老板凱斯·托爾多夫(Keith Tordoff )站在柜臺后,面帶微笑地講著一些生動的笑話,一邊從身后貨架上的200多個糖果罐中取出糖果,過秤后分裝為4盎司一包。

His wife Gloria appeared to help with the demand, snapping lids closed with urgency, while his son Alexander made light work of refilling the jars for visitors from the US, Japan, Germany, Australia and all parts of the UK. Barley sugars changed hands; so too did sours, sugar-dusted bon bons, rainbow jelly beans, and perennial favourites rosie apples and rhubarb and custards (both retro boiled sweets).

妻子格洛麗亞(Gloria)也在店里幫忙,她干練地把一包包糖果袋封口;兒子亞歷山大(Alexender)干的是輕活,負責將糖果罐重新裝滿。店里的顧客來自英國各處,還有不少美國、日本、德國、澳大利亞等地慕名而來的外國游客。 店里售賣的糖果琳瑯滿目,有麥芽糖、酸味糖、裹著糖粉的軟糖、彩虹糖豆,以及一直飽受顧客喜愛的兩款經典硬糖——紅粉蘋果和大黃卡仕達。

Mornings have been this way for nearly two centuries, and nothing changes at the confectioner but the day of the week. And yet a closer look at the vintage wooden counter, past the oil lamps, oak beams and the century-old cash register, revealed that many customers were queuing to buy the very same thing: a bag of curious, treacle-coloured coins, better known as Pontefract Cakes, and a sweet that local legend claims are among the oldest in the world.

這樣繁忙的上午時光已經持續了近兩個世紀之久。這家糖果店除了日子的更迭以外,一切如昔,毫無變化。當你視線越過油燈、橡木橫梁和用了百年之久的收銀臺,走近細看這家店的古老木質柜臺,就會發現許多客人排隊購買的都是同一樣東西:一袋呈糖蜜色,有著奇特的錢幣形狀,稱之為龐特弗雷特甜餅(Pontefract Cakes)的干草糖,當地人相信是世界上最古老的糖果之一。

“Everyone loves them, including me,” said Tordoff, who admits to eating around 450g (1lb) of sweets every day. “This building started life as an apothecary in the early 1600s and that’s where the story of Yorkshire liquorice – and the Pontefract Cake – really begins.”

托爾多夫承認,他每天都要吃上450克(約1磅)左右的糖,他說:“所有人都喜歡這種糖,我也不例外。這家店從17世紀初就開始營業,最早是販賣藥材的。約克郡甘草糖(Yorkshire liquorice)——也就是龐特弗雷特甜餅的故事,就是從那時開始的。"

My curiosity about this unfamiliar Yorkshire sweet had initially been piqued a few weeks earlier. As I began reading about its storied history, I discovered a tale that moved from the Norman conquest in 1066 to The Wars of the Roses in the 15th Century to the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603). There was even mention of castle sieges in the mid-17th Century. As I read on, it seemed as if the liquorice had become synonymous with Yorkshire itself.

我是在幾周前開始對這種陌生的約克郡糖果產生興趣, 開始閱讀與甘草糖相關的歷史傳奇。我發現,有關甘草的故事最早始于1066年諾曼人(Norman)征服英格蘭之時,然后到15世紀的英國玫瑰戰爭(The Wars of the Roses),直至伊麗莎白一世(Elizabeth I)的統治時期(1558-1603)。 甚至17世紀中葉城堡圍攻的歷史記載中也提到過甘草糖。甘草糖簡直成了約克郡的又一代名詞。

Indeed, hidden in the pages of history, it turned out liquorice’s arrival dated to around the 11th Century, when monks or Crusaders first brought the medicinal Mediterranean root to the county, depending on who you ask. I was intruiged by the list of attractions related to the history of liquorice: a fairytale castle, a festival, a farm, a museum and sweet shops. In particular, one place name kept cropping up: Pontefract, a town with liquorice sprouting between the cracks, which was located just one hour to the south-east of Pateley Bridge. I was keen to find out more.

在歷史記載的字里行間,我發現甘草的引入可以追溯到11世紀左右。據說,最初由僧侶或十字軍將這種地中海藥用植物塊根帶回英國。當然最初是如何引進要看你信哪一家之言。 在這里,和甘草相關的一系列景點令我興致盎然:其中有一座童話般的城堡、一個節日、一個農場、一座博物館以及多家糖果商店。有一個地名的出現率很高:龐特弗雷特。該鎮位于佩特里橋的東南,車程大約僅有一小時,鎮上空地生長著甘草。

A visit to the ruined Pontefract Castle gave me some clues. Built from the 1070s onwards, and at the tail end of a £3.5m refurbishment, the medieval keep was the site of multiple royal seizures and as many civil wars. It was a stomping ground for historical figures such as the Grand Old Duke of York, defeated at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460, and King Richard II, who was supposedly imprisoned and starved to death for treason on the site. Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII, pops up in the story, too, having had an affair at the castle in 1541.

參觀龐特弗雷特城堡(Pontefract Castle)遺跡,給我一些線索了解甘草在約克郡的歷史。這座城堡建于1070年,為保存歷史遺跡的最新修繕工程花了350萬英鎊。這座中世紀堡壘曾經見證了不少王權爭奪和英國多次內戰, 許多歷史人物都在這里留下了故事,如1460年在維克菲爾德戰役(Battle of Wakefield)中敗北的約克大公爵(Grand Old Duke of York),被控叛國的英王理查德二世(King Richard II)當年也被監禁于此,據說最后是被餓死的。1541年,亨利八世(Henry VIII)的第五任王后凱瑟琳‧霍華德(Catherine Howard)就是在這座城堡與人通奸。

But perhaps the most surprising part of the story is that by the early 18th Century, Yorkshire’s imposing fortress had an entirely different purpose. By 1720, as demand shaped the local economy for medicinal liquorice (at the time physicians used it as a cure-all for everything from stomach ulcers and heartburn to colic, bronchitis and tuberculosis), the castle was rented out and roots were stored in the castle dungeons instead of weapons, gunpowder and prisoners.

甘草在英國的歷史中最為精彩的一頁,是在18世紀初,這座雄偉的城堡賦予甘草全新的作用之時。1720年,藥用甘草的需求大漲而有助于當地的經濟,當時的醫生將甘草視為靈藥,用來治療各種疾病,從胃潰瘍、胃灼熱到絞痛、支氣管炎、肺結核等,無所不包。這座城堡被人租下來,原來陳放兵器火藥,及囚禁犯人的地窖現用來存放甘草塊根。

“You’re standing on what was once a massive liquorice field,” said Dave Evans, curator of Wakefield Museums and Castles, as he showed me around the castle remains. “You need deep trenches to grow liquorice properly – up to 6ft in depth – which is why the castle hillock and its elevated grounds were the perfect environment. Beneath you is what was once a gigantic liquorice store.” While England was hardly short of imposing castles, one overriding factor prevailed: Yorkshire’s climate and geography suited the liquorice’s temperament far better than it did the warmongers’.

維克菲爾德博物館和城堡(Wakefield Museums and Castles)的館長埃文斯(Dave Evans)領著我參觀了城堡遺跡。他說:“你站的地方,從前是一片很大的甘草田。 要種出好的甘草,畦溝一定要開得深,最深要挖到六英尺。這就是為什么城堡丘陵和其所在高地能夠提供完美的種植環境。 在你的下面,曾經有一個很大的甘草店。”雖然英國并不缺雄偉壯觀的城堡,但只有龐特弗雷特城堡成了甘草中心,其關鍵因素是:約克郡氣候和地理條件使之成為兵家必爭之地,但更加適宜種植甘草。

It is around this point in the timeline, in 1760, that the most important dramatis personae in the story makes his entrance. George Dunhill was an apothecary chemist in the family trade in Pontefract, and by adding sugar to liquorice (then a dissolvable, medicinal pastel) he created a chewable non-medicinal lozenge, inventing the sweet as we know it today.

1760年左右,甘草歷史中最為重要的角色登場了。 鄧希爾(George Dunhill)是一名藥劑師,他的家族在龐特弗雷特經營家族生意。鄧希爾在藥用甘草中加入了糖(藥用甘草當時是一種可溶解的藥用糊劑),發明出一種可咀嚼的非藥用含片,也就是現在為我們所熟知的甘草糖。

Over the years, a sweet empire boomed in the surrounding towns, and by the 19th Century, around 20 sweet companies had appeared. At the height of production, there were 10 enormous factories in Yorkshire, and inside each, teams of around 45 female workers processed a daily ration of 25,000 ‘cakes’ (as they were called at the time), individually stamping the candy medallions with a design to look like Pontefract Castle.

年復一年,城堡周遭的城鎮逐漸發展成一個糖果帝國。19世紀時,該地區已約有20家糖果公司。 在巔峰狀態時,約克郡內建有10家大型工廠。女工們以約45人為一組,每天生產25000個'甜餅'(當時都是這么叫的),每塊類似硬幣形狀的甜餅表面上都會蓋印,印章則設計成了龐特弗雷特城堡的樣子。

Still, nothing could save the confectioners from globalisation. Local brands such as Sheffield’s George Bassett and Co, which invented UK children’s favourite Liquorice Allsorts, was absorbed into Cadbury, while Dunhills, the original maker of Pontefract Cakes, was acquired by German confectionary giant Haribo in 1994. Yet one thing remains true: the embossed castle stamp still takes pride of place on each sweet.

然而,全球化的進程使得當地很多糖果店關門大吉。 英國的本土品牌,如謝菲爾德的喬治巴塞特公司(George Bassett and Co),其生產的什錦甘草糖(Liquorice Allsorts)曾是英國孩子的最愛,最后被吉百利(Cadbury)所吞并。最早發明龐特弗雷特甜餅的鄧希爾公司,也于1994年被德國糖果業巨頭哈瑞寶(Haribo)收購。 只有一件事沒有改變:城堡的浮雕印章,仍然占據了每塊糖果最為顯眼的位置。

“Looking back, it’s as if the stars aligned over Pontefract,” Evans said. “The heritage is tangible, and while most of our liquorice factories have now closed, you can build a whole day out of liquorice tourism in the area.” Today, that could take sweet lovers to the Pontefract Liquorice Festival in July, or to the art nouveau Pontefract Museum, which houses a special liquorice exhibit.

埃文斯說:“回想起來,這個印章仿佛是鑲嵌在龐特弗雷特上空的一顆明星,是我們有形的遺產。雖然如今大多數的甘草糖工廠已經倒閉,但是,人們還是能夠來這里游玩,度過以甘草糖為主題的一天。”如今,每年,糖果愛好者都可以來此參加一年一度的七月龐特弗雷特甘草糖節(Pontefract Liquorice Festival),也可以前往新藝術風格的龐特弗雷特博物館,里面有著別出心裁的甘草糖展出。

And yet there could be a new twist in the tale. Just outside Pontefract, at Farmer Copleys shop and dairy farm, Heather Copley and her husband Robert have recently become the only present-day farmers to grow liquorice root successfully in the UK. Complicating factors to achieve a fruitful crop include the right soil and climatic conditions, and since liquorice farming fell out of fashion, few farmers take up the challenge.

甘草的歷史可能出現了新的轉折點。 龐特弗雷特鎮外有一家農夫商店和奶牛場,庫珀利(Heather Copley)夫婦是如今英國唯一能培育種植甘草的農夫。甘草豐收所需要的環境十分復雜,其中包括適當的土壤條件和氣候條件。因為甘草種植已經不再盛行,因此少有農夫愿意挑戰自我,培育甘草。

But the Copleys are different. Their estate saw more than 100 plants flower for the first time last year, and plans are afoot to increase the crop year-on-year as an ingredient for ice cream, gin and, maybe, one day, sweets. Far from being unrealistic, the ultimate goal is to work towards obtaining a product of designated origin, or PDO.

但庫珀利一家接受了挑戰。 去年,他們的莊園里第一次有100多株甘草開花。他們計劃逐年擴大種植規模,并用甘草為原料生產冰淇淋、杜松子酒等,有朝一日或許能用之來制作甘草糖。 他們的最終目標是讓甘草取得PDO,即“原產地保護產品認證”(product of designated origin)。這個目標并非不切實際。

“The stories here are incredible, so why can’t liquorice be treated with the same respect as Scotch whisky or Wensleydale cheese?” Heather said. “The whole of Pontefract once smelled of liquorice – subtle, yet strong – and it would be a terrible shame to lose our heritage. It flowered for the first time last year, and it’ll take us five to seven years to get something from the crop. But there’s a sense of it belonging here, and continuing this story can give people a real sense of local identity. It’s a social responsibility.”

庫珀利說:“這里的歷史故事本就很傳奇,那又有什么理由認為甘草不能像蘇格蘭威士忌(Scotch whisky)、文斯勒德奶酪(Wensleydale cheese)一樣,取得PDO呢?從前,龐特弗雷特城內到處彌漫著甘草細膩而十分濃烈的味道。如果我們不能留下這一遺產,也會成為我們可怕的恥辱。去年,我們種的甘草第一次開花。真正到收獲預計還要5至7年的時間, 但是這樣的場景讓我有了一種歸屬感。堅持這條路走下去,能給當地人一種身份上的認同。 這關乎社會責任。”

Not only that, but it’s an enticing invitation to come face to face with one of the world’s greatest unknown sweet stories. And if that intrigues you, don’t tell your dentist you’re planning a visit.

除此之外,誰又能夠拒絕這樣一份邀請,置身于世界上鮮為人知的最為偉大的糖果故事之中呢? 當然,如果你已經蠢蠢欲動,千萬別把旅行計劃告訴你的牙醫。

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