Tastemakers: Sweet Specialists: Tiny Trapeze Confections

© Keller & Keller

"'Ka-ching, ka-ching,' such a beautiful sound," says Suzanne Lombardi of Tiny Trapeze Confections in Hyde Park, Massachusetts. Lombardi isn't replicating the sound of a cash register; she's mimicking her 1937 "cut and wrap" candy-making machine. After a bit of repair work, the gear-driven contraption now cuts soft caramel into irregularly shaped bite-size pieces, then twists them in waxed paper. "With vintage equipment, each candy comes out looking unique," Lombardi says. Thankfully, the delicious taste of Tiny Trapeze products never varies. Caramels, in pure vanilla and toasted almond, are wonderfully creamy; chocolate marshmallows, hand cut into squares, are moist and airy; caramel corn is ultrabuttery and addictive. To produce such exemplary sweets, Lombardi and her partner, Ayis Antoniou, use high-quality organic ingredients from around the world, including vanilla from Madagascar and Australian honey. Even when the duo offers modern flavors like lemongrass and rose grapefruit, their techniques remain old-fashioned. They make their sweet barley drops, for instance, using turn-of-the-century brass dies and a machine that resembles an old clothes wringer. We think their fastidiousness has paid off ($5 to $6 per package; 617-364-3200 or www.tinytrapeze.com).

—Ratha Tep

PUBLISHED December 2003