Bosiljčić Candymaking

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The first generation of traditional candy makers in the Bosiljčić family started with Živorad's and Branislav’s grandfather in 1936. Their father took over the job between 1982 and 2002, and since then Živorad is officially in charge of the family business. His brother and wife are also fully involved, and on top of that they have two employees. Their grandfather ran the business before, during and after the 9 and faced many social and political challenges. They are overall very enthusiastic about the future of their business, which is not so often heard from traditional craftspeople. He feels that market is never a problem if you are working on a high-quality product.
At the time of their grandfather, there were as many as 120 such workshops, while today in all of Serbia there might be two or three left. Their grandfather had an official degree for this craft, as well as their father who was part of one of the last generations of candy makers educated within the specialized school system. Branislav and Živorad learned in the family, although Živorad is officially a confectioner. However, they say that no school is more important than their grandfather’s and father’s judgement of their mastery. The secret to maintaining the business over so many decades is not to have too high expectations, Živorad says. Modest business, modest income — but there is satisfaction, and family is growing.

Since 1995, Bosiljčić is the only remaining traditional workshop making candies and Turkish delights in Belgrade. The main raw material is sugar. Their assortment is the same no matter the current trends and day offer a total of around 30 products. They are overall very enthusiastic about the future of their business, something not so often heard from traditional craftsmen.

All of the work is done in only 46 m² of space, which accommodates both the production and storefront sales, in the Savamala district of Belgrade. The working area is pretty modest and tiny when compared to the level of production it is hosting, and for such a long time. Having in mind that they are keeping their vintage visual appeal, the store takes you on a stroll down the memory lane. Since 1995, Bosiljčić is the only remaining traditional workshop making candies and Turkish delights in Belgrade.

The main raw material is sugar. All of the ingredients are of Serbian origin, so there are no challenges with the supply. This also includes candy syrup which is made out of corn, as well as candy stiffener used for Turkish delight. All of the machines used date before the Second World War or are unique and custom-made. They keep all of the tools, and they are proud to say that they have enough equipment to set up another functional workshop. The production itself is not much different than the factory process, aside from the scale. There are candy rollers, the cauldron, candy drum, while the key position in the tiny workshop is the marble table without which nothing can be done.
One side of the production is dedicated to Turkish delight, which they produce in many variations. The other is the candy and lollipop making, which is based on the same recipe. Milky caramel is the third distinct basic product. Cooking takes up around 2 − 5 hours, and each day their cauldron is full and hot between 7 a.m. and noon.
After the sugar syrup is cooked, it gets poured onto the marble table to cool down, during which aroma and color can be added. The thickened mass is then run through rolling molds to create candy, which slowly comes to life by the syrup cooling down. When the syrup is thick enough, candy can be cut out of the sticky mass, and after a few minutes it will be solid and ready for going into the copper drum, where it will get nicer texture and polish. After that the product is ready for packing and sales. Due to the scale of the production, their product is always fresh.

Two main strands of their production and sales offer are Turkish delight and candies, lollipops and related sweets. They prefer having a few high-quality and market-tested products than a wide array of flavors and versions. They also produce milky caramel, whose recipe was the graduation work of grandfather Bosiljčić at the craft school.
When it comes to Turkish delight, they used to have mostly two flavors — vanilla and rose. But with the increase of demand they experimented with new recipes, and today they are offering as many as 15 flavors of Turkish delight. The main difference between theirs and industrial product is the traditional recipe which is a family secret and includes no preservation or conservation agents. All of the sales are done at their shop, but they do distribute to selected organic shops and restaurants that offer Turkish delight with traditional coffee.