the way we used to do it, to the way it is done now!

Boiled sweets are the result of boiling cane sugar and glucose syrup,  in large copper cauldrons to a specific temperature and then adding the flavourings. The boiling mix was quite literally picked out of the batch by hand, and immersed into cold water. To achieve this the operator's fingers were first dipped into the cold water and then swiftly into the boiling batch, and then back again into the cold water before the hot toffee had time to burn the operator's fingers. If the resulting drop was brittle, it was deemed to be ready. Different temperatures produced different consistencies, from soft fudge like sweets to hard bullet like drops. As one can imagine, this was a risky process; as also was the pouring of the boiled mix onto the steel slabs. (see below)trad1

Whilst different sweet textures were desired, the taste is all important and, as with all other foodstuffs, confectioners have their secret recipes. Joseph Dobson & Sons have always been famous for sweets with distinctive flavours and to add to their originality, each type of sweet had its own special shape.

Whilst still pliable, the warm mix would be cut with large shears into manageable pieces (see below) which would then be passed through a hand operated machine, rather like a mangle. This would contain the cutters which would press out the shapes; pear drops, fish shapes etc., before the final sweets would be cooled and given a final coating of sugar.trad5

This process has hardly changed save for automating some of the stages. Steam and gas, rather than coke are now used to fuel the cooking
processes, the testing and pouring of the hot sticky boiling mix is now made safer with the use of electronic thermometers and the cutting is now an automated process. The wide variety of shapes and tools used now can be seen in the production section.

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