Caramel candies, a hit in the 1960s, are back in fashion in São Paulo


Touchy, difficult to make and full of secrets, caramel candies, who knew, are back. One of those responsible for the “revival” is Tati Barbi, 29, who opened a bakery specializing in the recipe, in June 2021, in the Tatuapé neighborhood.

Long before, however, her coconut candies and condensed milk, wrapped in a brittle and shiny cone, were already a success — it was in 2013 that she rescued the family recipe to supplement her income.

“My mother also made these sweets to sell. At first, I didn’t like it and didn’t even think about starting a business. My dream was to work in a bank or multinational, but the business grew by word of mouth”, says the confectioner, who charges R $7.50 to R$8.50 per unit, depending on flavor.

From the domestic stove, Tati jumped to a professional kitchen, at the back of the store, where 15 people already work. On special dates, production reaches 3,000 bullets a day. “It’s a complicated recipe, I already have some scars on my hands”, she reveals.

Caramelization already had its golden period in São Paulo festivities. In the 1960s, it was chic to serve egg candies with a caramel cone.

“Along with the walnut cameos, they were the finest sweets of the time. At weddings, the fashion was to place them on multi-story silver trays, in the center of each table. Offering brigadiers was not elegant, they were restricted to parties. children”, recalls Silvia Chuairi, youngest daughter of the confectioner Mariza Chuairi, who founded Mariza Doces in 1963.

The recipe was immortalized in the first notebook published by sugar União, in 1960. Sent by a certain Maria Thereza Speers Hayden, a resident of Santos, it was called Balas de Ovos Dona Raquel and was one of the winners of the recipe contest promoted by the industry , in 1958.

In the list of ingredients, no condensed milk: just water, lots of egg yolks, lots of sugar, a little butter and vanilla essence to perfume. And that’s how the sweets from São Paulo’s Sabor Caramelado are still produced.

From the kitchen located in Ipiranga, up to 5,000 candies come out per week. At the head of the production is Marcos Henrique Martins, 51, who inherited the tradition of his father, the gaucho Luiz Lopes Martins.

“In the 1960s, he and my uncle used to sell candy from door to door and created a huge clientele in offices and hairdressing salons. My father even sold sweets for parties of the Palestra Italia board of directors, it became a tradition in São Paulo society. who makes caramelized egg candies, nowadays, copies both”, he says.

For party deliveries, Marcos charges R$280 per cent, but the price reaches R$350 for pistachio, hazelnut and Brazil nut flavors. It is also possible to order the candies through iFood, paying R$ 7.50 for each unit.

In the opinion of the heiress of Mariza Doces, the high degree of difficulty in carrying out the caramelization explains why these sweets practically disappeared for so long.

For starters, the sugar syrup, which hardens and turns into a shiny, brittle film, requires an exact point of caramelization. “You have to be very expert so that the caramel doesn’t melt after it’s ready, or it doesn’t become taffy, sticking to your teeth”, says Silvia.

It is also complicated to produce the candies or caramel candies in scale, as the acorns must be carefully dipped one by one into the caramel. At this stage, each confectioner has his technique.

Tati Barbi throws the candies in the syrup and rescues them with a fork, but some prefer to use a toothpick – and have patience to skewer the candy, dip it slowly in the caramel, remove the toothpick and wait for it to harden.

Caramel candies cannot withstand high temperatures because they melt, and they should not be frozen. It is also good to avoid the fridge, as the cold takes the shine off the caramel film.

For these and other reasons, the team at Sabor Caramelado —four family members and a helper— starts working at 4:30 in the morning.

“My father created the tradition of selling candies on the same day. At 11 am, most of the deliveries were already out on the street”, says Marcos.

Today, many of the caramel sweets have condensed milk — they are equivalent to brigadiers passed in caramel. In her shop, Tati Barbi sells 20 flavors, from walnuts to romeo and juliet. Among the six versions produced by Sabor Caramelado, there is even a foot bug.

Chef Andrea Kaufmann, who teaches the technique in a course on the Eduk online platform, reveals two little secrets. “If you add corn syrup to the sugar syrup, the caramel doesn’t melt afterwards. And the brigadeiro should be tougher. It works for any sweetened condensed milk.”

Even the love apple, another retro hit, is showing its caramel cone around — it was so successful in the June festivities that Tati Barbi kept the candy permanently, at R$ 10.90 a unit. Now, it’s a year-round party.

Tati Barbi Caramelized Bullets R. Serra de Juréa, 116, Tatuapé, Tel. (11) 98428-5142. From 10 am to 6 pm.

Caramel Flavor Tel. (11)2272-2463 or WhatsApp (11) 99219-6517.

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