Get to know Dirk Lawrenz, the candy man from Zeitz!
November 5, 2019. Autumn has arrived. The days are getting shorter and one begins to long for the sun. What helps against this swelling winter depression? Sugar and colour!
Both are available from Dirk Lawrenz, the Candy Man from Zeitz. Almost 30 years ago he moved from the Ruhr area to the Saale-Unstrut region. One thing led to another until the trained industrial mechanic became a confectioner. He once started to simply sell the small delicacies. But then he became so fascinated by the product that he wanted to learn how sweets are made. He found an experienced confectioner who taught him the basics and learned everything else autodidactically. Today he has a colourful assortment of sweets, drops, dragees and lollipops that make small and large sweet tooth shine.
If the pure taste experience is not enough for you, Dirk also offers you the possibility to make your own sweets. I had the chance and I can say that hand-made and then also home-made simply tastes best. I was allowed to try my hand at so-called lemon cream pillows. First of all, glucose and sugar are weighed and heated according to the recipe. The temperature when cooking the mixture is a decisive factor in the production of sweets. Only if you hit the exact temperature you will get the right consistency in the end. We have already discovered a trade secret, but have by no means revealed it. It's probably around 150 degrees. But we don't know exactly what it is, because Dirk has been working on the right recipe and preparation for a long time and it's these little things that make the difference to the industrially manufactured product. If the sugar mass has the right temperature, it goes one step at a time. The mass is poured boiling hot onto a stone surface. There it cools down a bit and is provided with natural flavours, food colouring and citric acid for that certain extra. This is followed by the splitting of the large block of sugar. Now the ingredients must be mixed by kneading and pulling over a large hook. At this point the manual work becomes particularly visible. Because it is not so easy to tame the tough mass. Dirk can tell from the colour and consistency whether the sweet ball of sugar is ready to be made into sweets and lollipops. When the time has come, the lump is turned into a long lemon-yellow strand by constantly rolling and pulling on a heated surface. This can be skilfully formed into lollipops and candy canes or, with the help of an impressively nostalgic-looking candy machine, into small cushions. You can find these small lemon cream pillows for example in the Saale-Unstrut suitcase or the brand new handmade Saale.Unstrut cool bag, which you can buy in the local tourist information offices and in the Naumburg Edeka Center Hinze.
Would you like to make your own sweets? You are welcome to do so in the unusual surroundings of the oldest briquette factory of the first generation in Germany! The Herrmann shaft in Zeitz. Under the motto Coal & Candy there is something for all senses. On the one hand you can learn about the region's amazing coal mining past and how people used to work in the factory - I can say this much: occupational safety was a very elastic term! Fortunately you don't have to work with the black coal anymore, but can enjoy the industrial charm of the location with the sweet things in life. Together with Dirk you make your own lollipops and sweets. There are no limits to creativity.
That's how the grey season tastes to me and I thank Dirk very much for letting me be his apprentice in the candy workshop for one day.