What’s sweeter than candy? A candy that can be a standalone miniature art itself.
Papabubble is an exclusive candy franchise that currently has stores in Taipei, Seoul, Tokyo, New York, Amsterdam and Barcelona. Papabubble refers to itself as caramels artisans. The candy rocks usually have an image in the middle and come in various flavors ranging from strawberry and passionfruit to chocolate and banana.
Ann runs the Papabubble store in Taipei, and when she invited me for a sneak peek at the delicious art of candy making, the sweet-tooth in me rejoiced like a seven-year-old kid. Just the thought of starting off my morning with a mouthful of sweet candies made me drool.
Arriving at Papabubble
I was immediately hit by the delightfully sweet, fruity scent of the candies. Looking around the store, it was like I have entered a fantasy world for sweet-lovers. The colorful candies and lollipops glistened under the lights and I literally felt like a kid in a candy store. The blueberry candy sample was all too tempting and I couldn’t help myself but to pop two in my mouth.
Ann informed me that I had just arrived in time to observe how they make the strawberry candy from start to finish. I could already smell the strawberry syrup brewing in the kitchen.
Ann’s sister and business partner, Christine, came out with a large pot of melted sugar syrup. She poured it evenly onto a large, shallow-depth metal basin. As the thick, smooth liquid slowly dripped out, my eyes widened with excitement.
They began to pour other various colored flavors onto the large block of sugar syrup. Now the rectangular slab mildly resembled something Mark Rothko would’ve painted, with the colors honey yellow, deep red and emerald green.
Christine and the assistant quickly cut up the colored squares before the sugar syrup cools down too much and turn into rock hard candy. Before I knew it, we had already moved on to the candy stretching part.
The stretching part really fascinated me. With each step, I began to see how it all fits in to how the final product would look. There were lots of pulling, shaping and rolling. It’s tough work and Ann tells me that she’s definitely gained some arm muscles from candy-making. When you’re kneading 8kg worth of sugar in dough-like texture every day, you’re bound to get toned arms.
All this molding is done on a specially heated rubber mat to prevent the candy from hardening. Protective gloves are worn throughout this process to protect the delicate hands from being scorched by the 165 degrees Celcius candy.
Christine pulled off a bit of the hot, stretchy candy for me to try. Being too eager, the honey consistency of the candy burnt the tip of my tongue. It was worth it though, just to feel the thick liquid texture of the candy harden in my mouth.
Individual candy pieces are carefully placed together to construct the final candy. The thick candy loaf is then stretched and rolled out into a thinner tube before being cut off. The candy rods are cooled on a metal surface before being diced into the final candy rocks that are ready to be packaged.
A typical batch can roughly make around 4,000 candy rocks. As the candy rocks are made by hand, Papabubble welcomes custom candies too. Ann tells me that they receive more than two custom orders weekly, mainly for weddings where the initials of the bride and groom can be on the candy, along with a cute love heart. Other custom orders have included well-known brands and even designer brands for promotional events.
Ann does look to expand her business in the upcoming year so look out for more Papabubble stores popping around in Taipei. For now, she’s also looking for more candy makers. If you want a sweet job, just inquire. within.
Where: No. 12, Lane 151, Ren-ai Rd., Sec. 4, Da-an District, Taipei
Phone: +886 2877 30955