A nice, big table like this one, where you can work really well – it’s half the battle in a cake shop. Because once you’ve ground or grated all the ingredients, or prepared them in some other way, you bring them all together here, on the big table, and roll them out or decorate them... or do whatever else needs doing.
Sometimes it's the most delicate precision work, for example when you’re decorating a cake with tiny marzipan roses... or sometimes you need all your strength. The machines are heavy, and we process enormous quantities of flour, sugar, butter and chocolate here. Yeast dough can weigh several kilogrammes.
Have you ever tried to open a big cast-iron drawer like this one? Under the worktop? Where we keep all our utensils? That alone takes enormous strength.
But fortunately, you’re pretty sturdy, Heinrich! Strong as an ox and yet capable of the most delicate work!
Yes, you need to be both if you want to be a really good confectioner.
And everyone who tastes your gateaux and biscuits and confectionery – they can all relate.
Perhaps. But you know, Gardi, there was a time when a lot of people were unable to sample and enjoy our delicacies.
Really. The old German word for confectioner was “Zuckerbäcker” – literally, “sugar baker”, in other words, someone who makes sweet pastries and the like. But sugar was expensive, because it had to be imported from overseas. This was sugar cane at the time, and only a few very rich people could afford it. Most people never ate anything sweet at all ... except fruit, of course. It’s only just over a century since people in Europe started growing sugar beet and processing it into sugar. On a large scale, an industrial scale. Only since then has sugar been affordable for everyone, and only since then have there been confectioners who produce all kinds of treats for a wide range of customers.
Well, let me say one thing: thank goodness I'm alive today and not more than a century ago! No gateaux, no chocolate – what a depressing idea!
Foto: © Wagner Roland und Adelheid, Lahr