Confectionery or confectionary?
From time to time we come across total confusion over the correct spelling of a word and confectionery (or should that be confectionary?) is clearly an example of this situation.
Type in “confectionary” to Google and it will ask you if you meant "confectionery". Even Google is not sure! Spell-check tends to favour confectionery whilst all manner of dictionaries will not entirely solve the confusion either. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, confectionery is the correct spelling for both "a shop that sells sweets and chocolates" and "sweets and chocolates considered collectively". However Collins English Dictionary states that confectionary is “a place where confections are stored or made”, defining confection as “any sweet preparation of fruit, nuts, etc. such as a preserve or a sweet”.
So here is Hancocks’ take on the confectionery / confectionary debate. The term (spelt either way) can traditionally describe sweet treats and sweetmeats. The art of creating sweet treats was developed many centuries ago and all manner of creations today have their origins from this time. For example macaroons, marshmallows, biscuits and of course, many sweets. From these beginnings, the bakery market and the confectionery market that we see today have evolved – two distinct categories with intertwined origins.
Confectionery is the term we use (like the majority of businesses) to describe sweets and chocolates. The person that makes them is a confectioner and he runs a confectionery store.
Confectionary on the other hand, would more usually describe sweet bakery items that you might find available to buy in bakers shops. These can also be called confections but confusingly, the person that makes them is often called a confectioner!
Clearly (and understandably), many people continue to confuse the words confectionery and confectionary and this is unlikely to change. In truth, an absolute answer is perhaps not possible to establish and the most important thing is to decide for yourself and stick to it. Meanwhile at Hancocks, we’ll forgive you if you ask to buy some confectionary and will help you to choose a great range of sweets and chocolates from us!