Say these words without cracking up a little: artisanal, fair-trade, organic, all-natural, hand-spun ... cotton candy.
Yes, Coryn Enfinger, 28, and her cousin Ariana Rioseco, 22, have launched a company that makes cotton candy for grownups, even for grownups who eschew artificial dyes and want their sweet confections to be free range and cruelty free. Sink or Spin Cotton Candy debuted at the Tampa Etsy Craft Party on June 6, nearly selling out with flavors like chai, crème brûlée and lychee.
The two cousins had a wild hair for their grandfather's 80th birthday party in Miami in February. What's the one candy that makes everyone feel like a kid again? They borrowed a small cotton candy machine and got busy, experimenting with vanilla, cherry, honey and mango flavored candy floss.
After that, they found a commercial cotton candy machine online on clearance for $200. Just sugar and powdered extracts and a little bit of dextrose (it's grape sugar that keeps the candy fluffy and prevents stickiness) and they were in business. Enfinger had a good reason to start thinking about wholesome ingredients.
"My three kids are very sensitive to food dyes. So I started looking up on Google how to make it out of organic ingredients. It's basically just sugar that you flavor."
The sticky treat actually dates back to the 18th century in Europe when it was a fancy-pants thing only for the wealthy (the spinning process was laborious back then and sugar was expensive). It was dentist William Morrison who developed the spinning machine that was introduced at the 1904 World's Fair (doesn't that seem self-serving for a dentist?).
Working for now out of Enfinger's home in Wesley Chapel in accordance with Florida's Cottage Food Laws, the duo is experimenting with a rum flavor and a coconut, with plans in the works for holiday flavors such as cinnamon and pumpkin. They sell the product in 32-ounce containers (no stick) for $4.50 and hope to have it available at local festivals and fairs.
At Saturday's Etsy event they sold 100 packages, with breathless enthusiasts saying it was a dream they didn't know they had, come true.
Could this signal a renaissance for what was once known as fairy floss?
"For us it was really was just a whim," says Enfinger. "But maybe it'll be the next big thing."
Laura Reiley can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2293.