We spoke to Kapiti Candy Co.'s Helen Mckenzie about their inspiration, best-sellers and what keeps them striving for the perfect New Zealand made candy.
In their custom built factory on the Kapiti Coast, the talented artisans at Kapiti Candy Co. work tirelessly to produce the highest quality, handmade candy. Family owned and operated, Bruce and Helen Mackenzie, and their team have been producing quality, handmade New Zealand confectionary for more than three decades.
Bruce is head candy maker and overseas everything, from the raw ingredients to the finished product safely tucked away in its bag. Along with the rest of the team, he loves using traditional techniques and equipment to create delicious, small batch products that have been mastered over time. Kapiti Candy Co. is all about reawakening childhood memories of the sweet treats your grandparents shared with you, you can regularly find such delights as Hokey Pokey, Toasted Coconut Marshmallow, Russian Fudge, Salted Chocolate Almond Brittle, Coconut Ice and Fruit Jellies.
We caught up with Helen to find out what keeps them making (and loving!) candy so much after more than thirty years in the business.
What inspires you? What do you love so much about hand-crafting sweet treats?
The thought of creating sweet delights which often starts with a simple bag of sugar captured our hearts 13 years ago. Bruce and I are both passionate about providing traditional old school confectionery to New Zealanders. We have a unique business that is well established and we are continually evolving to share our confectionery experience nationwide. That excites us on a daily basis.
Where/how do the Kapiti Candy Co. confectioners learn their craft?
Bruce and his right hand man, John have both learned their skills while on the job, together with experimentation (mostly with success but sometimes not!) using traditional candy making methods. The learning is ongoing.
There seems to have been an increase in interest in hand crafted treats recently. Why do you think that is?
There is certainly still a need for mass produced confectionery, but we feel that when someone wants an indulgent experience with candy, they are looking for the next level as far as texture, flavour and everything else goes. They want artisan New Zealand hand made confectionery at its best.
Which candies are most reminiscent of your own childhood?
Our chocolate fudge takes me back to my childhood when dad would make fudge on a Sunday night and would spend so long stirring the pot with a wooden spoon. It was then a race to lick the spoon before the fudge set! Bruce recalls Smokers – the old fashioned musk candy.
Do you have a best-seller – a candy that people just can’t seem to get enough of?
Often trends change but at the moment our two best sellers are the Raspberry & Vanilla Marshmallow and our Salted Chocolate Almond Brittle. Both these products, as with all our candy, are a real labour of love.
Are there any lesser known candies that you would encourage people to try?
Some people might not be aware that we have a fantastic range of sugar free confectionery. These are a hard boiled candy and come in various flavours, including Raspberry, Lemon and Butterscotch Melts. They are all available in handy 100g grab bags. They're proving especially popular with those that are after a treat but want a little less sugar than the more traditional candies.
Is there anything about artisan confectionary that people might be surprised or interested to know?
With artisan candy, traditional methods are used, products are hand made, the candies are hand packed, and it's all more labour intensive than you might imagine. Our team really care about what they are doing to ensure you get the ultimate experience.
What’s next for Kapiti Candy Co.? Do you have any exciting plans or developments in the pipelines?
We have some new look products being released into the market in the next couple of months along with some existing products moving into new resealable pouch bags so watch this space!
You can learn more about Kapiti Candy Co. here.