Caramel Figures (Sugar Painting)
Nowadays we are spoiled with so many different sweets and it is not easy to impress somebody with sugar on a stick. Difficult, but not impossible – the ancient Chinese art of “sugar painting” does this. Long time ago, during the Ming Dynasty (more than 600 years ago) caramel figures were a popular art form. In medieval times they were so important that caramel plants and animals were presented as a sacrifice to various gods.
For a bystander it looks easy – pour some sugar syrup over the marble plate, add the stick, scrape it off and done! Actually, mastering the technique requires years of practice painting even before the future master begins working with sugar. The major difficulty is presented by the sugar – the syrup hardens almost immediately, so there is no room for mistakes.
Today in China (especially in the Sichuan Province) you can still buy a caramel dragon or a phoenix from a street cart. The price is around $0.30 and the unique candies are mostly appreciated by kids and tourists