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The most common forms of treacle are the pale syrup known as golden syrup and the darker syrup usually referred to as dark or black treacle. Dark treacle has a distinctively strong, slightly bitter flavour, and a richer color than golden syrup, yet not as dark as molasses. Golden syrup is the main sweetener in treacle tart.
Historically, the Middle English term treacle was used by herbalists and apothecaries to describe a medicine (also called theriac or theriaca), composed of many ingredients, that was used as an antidote treatment for poisons, snakebites or various ailments. Triacle comes from the Old French triacle, in turn from (unattested and reconstructed) Vulgar Latin triacula, which comes from Latin theriaca, the latinisation of the Greek θηριακή (thēriakē), the feminine of θηριακός (thēriakos), "concerning venomous beasts", which comes from θηρίον (thērion), "wild animal, beast".
Treacle is made from the syrup that remains after sugar is refined. Raw sugars are first treated in a process called affination. When dissolved, the resulting liquor contains the minimum of dissolved non-sugars to be removed by treatment with activated carbon or bone char. The dark-colored washings[clarification needed] are treated separately, without carbon or bone char. They are boiled to grain (i.e. until sugar crystals precipitate out) in a vacuum pan, forming a low-grade massecuite (boiled mass) which is centrifuged, yielding a brown sugar and a liquid by-product—treacle.
In popular culture
At Halloween, especially in Scotland, a traditional task visiting children had to accomplish in order to win their treat was to eat a scone spread with treacle which was suspended on a piece of string at about head height. They had to do so without using their hands, resulting in treacle-covered faces.
In chapter 7 of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the Dormouse tells a story of Elsie, Lacie and Tillie living at the bottom of a well, which confuses Alice, who interrupts to ask. "The Dormouse again took a minute or two to think about it, and then said, 'It was a treacle-well.'" This is an allusion to the so-called "treacle well", the curative St. Frideswide's Well at Binsey, Oxfordshire.
- Treacle mining
- Treacle protein
- Treacle sponge pudding
- Venice treacle, also known as Treacle of Andromachus: see Theriac#Theriaca_Andromachi_Senioris
- "Treacle Origins and Uses at www.recipes4us.co.uk".
- Oxford Dictionary ISBN 978-1-85152-101-2
- theriacus, Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary, on Perseus
- θηριακός, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
- θηρίον, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
- Treacle, on Oxford Dictionaries
- Heriot p 392
- p14, Oxford in English literature: the making, and undoing, of "the English Athens" (1998), John Dougill, University of Michigan Press, ISBN 0-472-10784-4.
- Heriot, Thomas Hawkins Percy (1920). The manufacture of sugar from the cane and beet. London: Longmans, Green and co.