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Published on Apr 7, 2008
The Enterprise of Brockton, Mass. www.enterprisenews.com WEST BRIDGEWATER — A candy factory operating out of a church basement in a residential neighborhood could soon be moving to bigger digs in an industrial plant. David McCarthy, 51, sole proprietor of Hill-Top Candy Kitchen, will appear before the Zoning Board of Appeals tonight (tuesday) to seek a special permit to relocate the candy-making business from an old church at 24 Sunset Ave. to a plant at 56 Manley St. Taffy-making is a simple process, McCarthy said. "It's something that you could actually do at home in your own kitchen," he said. "We're only doing it at a higher volume." Here's the process: A batch of corn syrup and sugar is cooked for about 10 minutes in a copper pot at about 250 degrees. The mixture is poured onto a cooling table, where flavoring and coloring are added. As it cools, the batch is stretched on a pulling machine to aerate and cool it off. From there, the confection is sent to a 1907 "kiss" machine, where it is stretched, cut, wrapped and dropped into a bucket. In business since 1946, Hill-Top today makes about 22 batches, or about 1,000 pounds, of taffy a day. The company makes about 40 different flavors of taffy, including cookie dough and cinnamon bun, McCarthy said. A larger scale kitchen can produce almost 10 times as much taffy, but McCarthy said he relies on candy-makers Jose Torres and Ernie Johnson, both with 20 years of experience. "It's like watching a ballet. Ernie knows what Jose is doing and Jose knows what Ernie is doing," said Maureen Yalenezian, Hill-Top's administrator.
"It's a sweet life," said Torres, 51, of Brockton. They produce premium candy for the high end of the market. "Some days it's fun. You're always trying a different flavor. It's a challenge some days. When it's hot out and sticky, it makes it difficult," said Johnson, 41, of Taunton.