There is no true definition of what ‘Artisan’ truly means as each application of the word is relative to the product or type of business it is applied to. Where there is consensus however is in the scale, production method and authenticity of the product.
When applied to the production of food and drink, the word artisan is commonly accepted to involve a traditional component, although with an appreciation that with modern techniques, equipment and with health and safety in mind, the link with tradition may be more of a nod than a strict adherence. Nevertheless, the origins of production method and indeed recipe may have a firm basis in culture, heritage and tradition.
It is unlikely that a large-scale, multinational producer would attempt to describe their products as artisan as it would jar with the perception of artisans producing on a significantly smaller basis. This sense of being handmade, or indeed homemade and the inherent suggestion of small scale naturally lends itself to the accepted definition of what it means to be an artisan producer.
It is in the area of authenticity that artisan producers win out over mass produced products. Anyone who has ever been to an artisan food event or farmers market and has spoken with the person who actually made the products, will know that the passion, breadth of knowledge and belief in the product is what sets it apart from the rest. The issue may perhaps be in getting them to stop talking about their business!
SeaSugar Handmade Confectionery is like all artisan producers in this regard. All our sweets are produced in small batches using a time-honoured traditional method of boiling, pouring onto cold granite and hand pulling on a steel hook. We don’t automate any part of the process with each element carried out by hand. Our batches are kept to small 5 - 7kg batches as this is manageable for one person and ensures a consistently high-quality end product.
Much as we strive to maintain the tradition, there is nothing traditional about our flavours. Our sweets are available in a range of flavours which wouldn’t generally be found in hard sweets, such as lemon and elderflower, pineapple and coconut, rhubarb and vanilla to name a few. We don’t make sweets with traditional flavours such as cola cubes, pear drops or sherbet lemons because these are still produced by wonderful traditional sweet manufacturers throughout GB and Ireland.