>Oh, Sugar Sugar


Picture it:  amber brown walls, shelves covered with glass jars filled with colorful candy, brightly colored boxes and small bags festooned with curly ribbon sit on marble counters.  Large cases display their wares tempting you to lean in closer and try to smell the delectable’s protected within.  Stained glass windows throw jewel tones across the floor softening the bright sunshine as it streams in.  A vaguely mystical air pervades the space as you wonder about the magic here.  The smell is calming and envelopes you in tranquility.  You feel your brow smooth out, your shoulders relax and yours eyes gently close.  The world disappears as you stand amongst confectionary heaven and inhale the sweet, unctuous fragrance that surrounds you.
The shop would have small, sturdy wooden tables with brightly colored chairs.  It would be eclectic, welcoming, stimulating and calming in order to adequately convey the personality of the owner.  Treats would be served on funky, mismatched plates and glasses.  Low lights and soft music that make you want to linger, enjoy the creative process and get comfy would play in the background.
The bakery would be in the back with a curtain of beads separating customer and staff.  This is the place where sugar takes centre stage and comes back for encore after encore in the symphony that is baking.  All the ingredients coming together like the pieces of a concerto.  Every day would provide an opportunity to generate a new delectable treat for eager customers.  What an exciting way to start the day !  Creativity bursting at the icing bag I would awaken and start creating interesting and tasty bits of epicurean delight. What a dream to live every day as maestro in my kitchen.
This is one of my many fantasies: owing my own sweet shop.  It would be so lovely to see people have that first moment of awe and wonder as they taste what I’ve created for them.  To watch as the magic of sugar weaves its spell.  Do they stay in the here and now or are they whisked away to some memory long buried like a nugget of gold ?  A time where they shared a special sweet treat with friends or family:  birthdays, Easter, Christmas morning, or visits to Nana’s.  Long lost confectionary dreams are brought back to today by my fudges and cookies and gooey pastries.
What is the wonder of sugar ?  Why do so many derive pleasure from this simple substance ? How can one ingredient be turned into so many different things ? When will we ever find the limit on all its uses ? Where would be the perfect place to explore all these questions and more ? My sweet shop of course.
Soothing smells of chocolate, caramel and cream herald the coming of Fall.  Warming aromas of cinnamon and ginger make the winter seem less chilling.  Lifting smells of lavender and mint evoke a spring day with nodding daffodils and the sun shining.   Quenching glasses of lemonade are the refreshment of choice on a hot summer’s day.  Isn’t it amazing what power scents and tastes can have over us ?  Isn’t it wonderful that sugar can be the vehicle to deliver us these pleasant experiences.
Shop dreams aside, my current sugar creativity takes the form of cakes.   I consider the person it is for, the occasion, the season and what I feel capable of that day.  As I mix the ingredients for the cake, I think about the process ahead of dirty icing and then creating a smooth canvas to create on.   While my icing comes together in a vanilla whir of sugar and butter, I start to tinker with colors deciding what is to trim and what is to make the picture.  I love this part of the creative process as nerve wracking as it is.  Some of my cakes have turned out fantastic.  They are creations of sugar that I am truly proud of.  Others have not taken shape the way I planned at all but still manage to impress the recipient.  Then there are the cakes that I regret ever starting but still managed to learn something from.  Those are the cakes that don’t make it to the photo album.  Any customer that I make a cake for should have a lasting, pleasant memory.  Anything less is a disappointment for both of us. 
My sugar dreams become reality with cakes.  The fantasy of the sweet shop will have to be played out via my cake confections right here at home.  Hopefully the feeling I would like to imbue in my shop shines through in my cakes.  Funky, soothing, bright and delicious !  It is that dance of idea and ability to the tune of wishes that creates the sugar dream.

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