Sticky Business at One Candy Store
Children and adults alike gathered around the open kitchen of Sticky, a new candy outlet in the Living World Alam Sutera shopping center in Tangerang, last weekend. They watched and took pictures as Indonesian candy maker Shandy Suhendi and Singaporean candy maker Jamie Lim created some special Ramadan treats.
“Everybody loves candies, especially those that are as cheerful and colorful as Sticky,” Shandy said.
Sticky is a brand of traditional handmade candies from Australia. It is the brainchild of Australian master confectioner and entrepreneur David King. The first Sticky store was established in his hometown, Sydney, in 2001.
The brand has expanded since then. Today, Sticky has a network of franchise-affiliates in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Indonesia.
Indonesian entrepreneur and the managing director of the Gading Food Group, Henky Rusli, brought Sticky to the Indonesian market last year.
“It’s something entirely new for Indonesian customers,” Henky said. “Sticky combines the art of cooking, craftsmanship and a theatrical performance in its candy-making process.”
The first Sticky store in Indonesia opened at Taman Anggrek shopping center in Slipi, West Jakarta, in November last year. The store, which offers live candy-making shows and special customizing services, soon became a customer favorite.
The second store in Living World Alam Sutera opened in the middle of this month. According to Shandy , the colorful store, which features a large open kitchen and pink carousel at the front, hasn’t seen a quiet day since it opened.
“Children and their parents always flock around our kitchen to watch the candy-making process,” she said. “It’s something that they’ve never seen before.”
The entire candy-making process at Sticky is done by hand. According to the 27-year-old Shandy, Sticky candies are made of raw sugar, food-grade colorings and essences.
“We don’t use any gluten or animal fat when making our candies,” she said. “So it’s practically fat-free, healthy and safe for consumption.”
Well, practically fat-free might be up in the air, but it is good.
And watching the candy makers at Sticky can be a fun way to pass a few minutes. During the candy-making demonstration last Saturday, the candy makers poured sizzling clear liquid sugar onto large cooling pans in the kitchen. The cooling pans have a water-cooling system underneath that turns the hot liquid sugar into warm pliable gel.
The candy makers then poured white, green and yellow coloring agents into different parts of the pan and stirred them gently. Within a couple of minutes, the sugar had turned into warm sheets of white, yellow and green gel. The candy makers removed them from the pans and placed them on the rolling table to mold them into different shapes.
“The mold is still quite hot at about 110 degrees Celsius,” Shandy said. “So, we have to work quickly and carefully so as not to destroy the lump or burn our hands.”
Covered in special Polyurethane gloves to protect them from the heat, the fingers of the candy makers deftly stretched and molded the lumps of sugar and other delicious goodness into long, thin rectangular shapes of yellow and green.
These were then stacked together into four blocks of alternating colors. At a glance, the shape resembled a ketupat, a traditional Indonesian rice cake, usually served during Idul Fitri. The blocks were then rolled together as one, the candy makers rolling and stretching the dough at an admirable pace.
The resulting lump, once it had been rolled as thin as your average pinkie finger, was then cut off into knuckle-sized rolls. Each roll featured a distinct ketupat image at the center.
Pieces of the still-warm rock candy were then offered to the audience. The candy was brilliantly colored, sweet smelling and had the clean, sweet taste of fruity flavors.
According to Shandy, Sticky has more than 70 flavors and 12 colors to choose from and combine. You can also customize the pictures, colors and inscriptions on the rock candy.
“Lots of people come and order customized candies for wedding souvenirs, children’s parties and corporate events,” she said.
Sticky also offers lollipops on wooden sticks with innovative designs and beautiful colors.
“They’re especially famous for Valentine’s day,” Shandy said. “We create them into beautiful rose shapes to give to your girlfriends.”
When stored properly the rock candies can be kept for about six months, according to Shandy. Although the colors may have started to fade by then, she says they are still safe to eat, thanks to their natural ingredients.
To celebrate the upcoming Idul Fitri holiday, which marks the end of the Ramadan fasting month, Sticky is selling rock candy with pictures of ketupat and inscribed with the words “Selamat Idul Fitri,” “Idul Fitri 1433 H” or “Maaf Lahir Batin” (“Forgive Us of All of Our Wrongdoings”).
“They’ll be beautiful gift items for your friends and family members during the holiday season,” Shandy said.