Wangi Wangi Rock sticks are a rock candy souvenir exclusive to the Lolly Shop Wangi. We have them specially handmade for us in the same way as other souvenir rock like Blackpool Rock and Brighton Rock are made.
Rock is a type of hard stick-shaped boiled sugar confectionery most usually flavoured with peppermint or spearmint. It is commonly sold at tourist resorts in the UK (like Brighton or Blackpool); in Ireland in seaside towns such as Bray and Strandhill; in Denmark in towns such as Løkken and Ebeltoft; and here in Australia in New South Wales and Tasmania.
It usually takes the form of a cylindrical stick (“a stick of rock”), normally 1.3cm to 2.5cm in diameter and 20cm to 25cm long. These cylinders have a pattern embedded throughout the length, which is often the name of the place where the rock is sold, so that the name can be read on both ends of the stick (reversed at one end) and remains legible even after pieces are bitten off.
Traditional rock is made using granulated sugar and glucose syrup. This is mixed together in a pan with enough water to dissolve the sugar, ( not enough water will result in burning the sugar or the end product being sugary and possibly ‘graining off’). This is then boiled to approximately 147c or ‘hard crack’ before being poured onto water-cooled steel plates. Once poured food colourings for the casing and lettering are added and mixed in by hand using a spoon or small pallette knife. Once the toffee mixture is poured onto a water-cooled plate, it begins to form a skin underneath, this makes it possible to cut out the colourings, using a pair of shears. The casings and lettering is constantly ‘turned in’ to prevent ‘chill’ ( unsightly lumps in the finished product ). The remainder of the toffee is stiffened up before going onto a ‘pulling’ machine, a machine that has a fixed arm, and two moving arms, one rotating clockwise, the other anti-clockwise. The pulling machine aerates the toffee, turning it from a solid golden mass into the soft white that forms the centre of the stick of rock. Whilst on the pulling machine, flavourings are added by pouring in measured amounts. A small amount of now white toffee is taken from the pulling machine, this is used to keep the form of the letters which are made from the coloured toffee.
The letters not made in order of appearance in the name, (ie W, A, N, G, I ) but by their shape, ‘square’ letters, (W,N,and I), are made first, as they will not lose their shape, ‘triangle’ (A) and ’round’, (G) are made last to prevent them from losing their shape, as the toffee is still reasonably soft at this point. The individual letters are placed between blocks or sticks at this point, to prevent them from losing shape and going flat. The letters are then placed in their correct spelling order with a ‘strip’ of white, aerated toffee between each letter to make it readable. Capital letters are the most common form of lettering as small case lettering is far more complicated, owing to their tails and high backs. The now aerated white toffee from the pulling machine is divided into three parts, one will form the centre and two will form the ‘flaps’. The flaps are kneaded and spread thinly and evenly before being placed directly onto the letters, these form the space between the casing and letters, they are then wrapped around the stiffened centre. The casing is then kneaded and evenly rolled out, using a rolling pin, this is then wrapped around the assembled ‘boiling’, which is one very large bar of rock that is still pliable and warm. This is then placed into a ‘batch roller’, which has several tapered rollers and heaters. The rollers keep the boiling of rock round and the heaters keep it just soft enough to work.
A craftsman known as a ‘Sugar boiler’ then proceeds to ‘spin out’ the boiling onto a long flat surface, known as a ‘slab’, where a ‘rollers’ make sure it is kept rolling until it has ‘set’ hard enough to maintain its round shape. Once set the strings of toffee are cut to length and wrapped.
The whole process of making WANGI WANGI lettered rock is done by hand by skilled workers based in Wauchope, NSW.
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