As I traveled through Australia this summer, a sweet dish called fairy bread kept coming up in conversation.
This July, I spent 10 days traveling through Australia and that time was filled with eating, discussing, and learning about local food.
I dined on barramundi, a popular fish served in Australia. I scarfed down savory pies, and wandered through Australia’s grocery stores to find Pods Snickers, an Australian take on the candy bar.
When I wasn’t eating local specialties, I was learning about them. As I chatted with Australians, I discovered quintessential Aussie foods, including iconic childhood snacks.
Over and over again, eyes lit up as Aussies eagerly told me about fairy bread, a simple three-ingredient dessert made with white bread, butter, and “hundreds of thousands,” which is an Australian phrase for nonpareils or round, rainbow sprinkles.
“It’s nostalgic for Australian people cause it’s what you’d have at birthday parties,” Indigo Rampson, an Australian from Wentworth Falls, New South Wales, told Insider.
Brittanie Stacpoole, who was born and raised in Western Australia, agreed. “Fairy bread was the staple of every birthday party,” she said.
And it’s existed in Australia for nearly a century, according to Australian National University’s National Dictionary Centre.
The same source states that the dish was a product of the Great Depression, and its the first reference and recipe were printed in the Hobart Mercury newspaper in 1929.
“The children will start their party with fairy bread and butter and 100’s and 1,000’s, and cakes, tarts, and home-made cakes,” the newspaper wrote, according to Australian National University’s National Dictionary Centre.
Decades later, it’s a dish Australian children are still devouring at birthday parties, locals told me. And for adults, it often sparks childhood memories and nostalgia.