Like kids in a candy shop
You know that saying, like a kid let loose in a candy shop. Well, I’ve only gone and let my kids loose in a candy shop. But it’s not just any candy shop – this is Spun Candy, where you can not only fill your stripy bags with sweets and lollipops to take home, but also enrol on a candy-making masterclass.
Based in London’s Spitalfields, this is a brilliant thing to do if you’re planning a day out in the big smoke. It’s easy to find, and within easy walking distance of Aldgate East Tube station.
We’re talking about the ultimate sweet shop – and one where you get to create your own lollipops to take home so it’s a very happy place, sort of like a modern-day Charlie and the Chocolate Factory without the chocolate river running through the middle.
The workshop space is just past the main sweetshop area, but all the walls are glass so you can see straight through from the shopfront to where the magic is made!
I took my tween and teen, but smaller kids would be just as happy doing this – as would groups of adults. And Spun Candy offer masterclasses for everyone – kids, families, corporate groups, hen gatherings, kids’ parties – which vary in length from one hour to three hours.
We arrived for our 10.30am masterclass with about 10 minutes to spare, so we had time to check out the candied creations and there are some great ones including life-size candied faces of celebs. Fernando and Sara were our candy-making teachers, and after being offered (and declining!) a glass of Prosecco for me and refreshments for the kids, we washed up and donned our aprons ready to create.
A team of candy-makers were already heating the sugar for our experience, a process that has to be fairly exact – 155C to be exact. Heat the sugar too much and you’ll end up with caramel, not enough and it won’t work either. The candy mixture is made using four parts sugar, one part glucose and one part water, plus the flavours – which are all natural.
The mixture, if kept warm, will stay supple – but it hardens as it cools which means you can taste-test a bit. Fernando gave each of us a piece to try and challenged us to guess the flavour – I guessed lemon, my daughter guessed raspberry and my son guessed peach. We were all wrong, but also a little bit right – it was tutti-fruity.
Next up Fernando and Sara poured the mixture out into a heated well on the table, added the colours, layered them together then rolled it into a giant cone shape. It was all rather clever – and it’s from the cone that lengths of candy were rolled out to make each lollipop.
The candy-making pros demonstrated how to make some of the classic lollipop shapes – the typical round shape, twirls, flowers, etc – and then encouraged us to get creative. We had a ball making everything from pig faces to butterflies, ducks and dogs.
After we’d finished, Fernando and Sara wrapped each of the lollipops and packaged them up ready for us to take home. I’m not sure my kids have ever seen so much candy – there was about 2.5kg of it – but they were mighty happy to be lugging it home where I’m pleased to say they’ve been sharing it with their friends. Of course, there’s no hurry to get it eaten, the candy will last quite happily for a year or longer.
Are you kidding – it’s candy! But there are some health and safety observations, and I’d suggest dressing smaller kids in long sleeve tops as the bars on the tables can be quite warm – and you wouldn’t want them inadvertently leaning on them.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: This is a great way to spend an hour or two, and would suit kids from age six and above, to grown ups. It would be a brilliant birthday party – and obviously you’d have ready-made goodie bags at the end. It would also be great fun thing to do with a group of girls for a birthday celebration, as a hen party, or as part of a corporate group.
Not for: Who doesn’t like candy? Well, there’s bound to be someone out there – and I’d say this wouldn’t be for them.
The damage: A 60-minute family masterclass is £60 per adult and £30 per child, or £150 for two adults and two children. The children’s master class is £60 for two children, and £30 for each additional child (for kids aged 6-17).
Spun Candy, 58 Wentworth St, Spitalfields, London E1 7AL. spun-candy.com