Once upon a time, we were practically neighbours with George and Sharon of Sweet-As. They live at O’Possum Bay, and had their rock candy caravan at the South Arm Fun Day, where we met up for the first time back in 2010. So much has changed since then: George and Sharon are expecting a baby soon (awwww); George has travelled overseas with a Rotary exchange program for small business owners; and we no longer live on the South Arm Peninsula.
Rock Candy: Keeping Sweet
Despite some massive changes since that first meeting, at least two things remain the same. George and Sharon still rock at candy-making; and we still love writing about locals producing a world-class Tasmanian product.
Just like we did on Saturday, you can find Sweet-As rock candy practically every week at Salamanca Market. They are moved around from site to site, but Sharon updates the Sweet-As Rock Candy Facebook page with the exact weekly location, so customers can find them easily. As a general rule, their site is usually near St Davids Park on Salamanca Place between the court house and Davey Street.
Sample the Sweets: Salamanca Market, Hobart
On Saturday, the Sweet-As stall was a busy place to be, with customers attracted by the colourful display. Sharon is a natural-born stall-holder, quick with a broad smile and a nice word or two for customers. Those who did raise their gaze from the lollies were met with the most amazing blue eyes; but many wouldn’t have noticed them. Customers were keenly focused on Sharon’s outstretched hand, offering a sample of assorted, brightly-coloured sweets.
Sharon told us her work at the market was easy. “There’s no sales pitch required, the sweets practically sell themselves,” she revealed. Some customers accepted a tasting and wandered off, but many of them returned within minutes to make a purchase. Others come with money in hand, knowing only too well they couldn’t resist the temptation.
Sharon and George Customise Their Candy
We were amazed Sharon was able to quote the flavour of each sweet in a millisecond, just by looking at the colour. That’s even more impressive when you learn the flavour doesn’t necessarily match the colour. Chocolate, for example, is not always cocoa-coloured; nor raspberry necessarily red. The flavours and colours are added separately, but Sharon and George can now remember the Sweet-As standard range in their sleep after making them for so long!
Adding the flavours and colours separately opens up a world of choice for customised orders. A bride and groom can create wedding favours for guests to match the theme of their special day. They can also have red hearts (for example) and their names on the inside.
Corporate clients can mix and match personalised sweets to reflect their own brand. One client recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of their business, giving sweets to clients and staff. They chose three different candies with appropriate wording, logos and shapes inside each and made-up their own special mixture from the trio.
Rock Candy: Agfest and AFL
If you ever get the chance, you should definitely see George and Sharon work their rock candy magic. We’ve seen them in action, but it’s still hard to comprehend how they actually get those tiny words and shapes inside. It truly is like magic! The party truck will be on show at Agfest in May. The annual three-day agricultural event in Carrick is the biggest of the festival season for Sweet-As.
Besides the weekly appearance at Salamanca Market in Hobart, you’ll find George and Sharon at various other Tasmanian-wide hot spots, including footy matches at Aurora Stadium in Launceston and Blundstone Arena in Bellerive. They prepare lollipops for both Tassie teams (Kanagaroos and Hawks), as well as the opposing team from interstate. At least fans can be consoled with a lemonade-flavoured lollipop when their team loses!
And here’s one final hot tip for customers at Salamanca Market: you can buy four packs of Sweet-As rock candy for the special price of $20-00. Or three small lollipops for $10-00. Or if you’re really savvy, you can snap up huge offcuts for a bargain price… same great taste, and according to Sharon they’re easy to break up and will last for ages. Just can’t imagine them lasting too long in our house!
Visit the website for more information about Sweet-As handmade Tasmanian delectable devilish rock candy. You can also email George and Sharon or phone 0429 161 220 to place a customised order. And of course, readers will be able to purchase rock candy online via Think Tasmania soon!