"Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong."
Such was nearly the case for my final exam on Monday. Pretty much every mistake that I didn't make in the practicals leading up to it happened on the big day. The colors for the poured sugar base turned out all wrong - I even forgot to pour a piece and had to use some of a friend's leftovers, some pieces cracked and in putting it all together I melted through some of the delicate pulled sugar decorations. But, thankfully, it's all behind me now.
I was apprehensive about sugar work* because, having spoken to graduates who have since joined the work force, it seems like a rather impractical skill. Sure, it's important if you plan to compete in competitions, but I don't really see my career heading that direction.
What I did learn in those last few lessons was the importance of planning ahead. Unlike the chocolate exam, for which I foolishly came up with my final design the night before, I used the practicals to develop a more singular idea, which my friend called "the Midnight Garden."
Pictures below, in chronological order.
*A few words of explanation: sugar work basically involves the heating of water and sugar, with the addition of glucose and sometimes tartaric acid, to a high temperature (150-160º C) in order to make structural pieces and decorations. Poured sugar, which is quite solid once set, is used to make the base for showpieces. Pulled sugar, which is relatively elastic because it contains tartaric acid and a different water to sugar ratio, can be stretched, blown and molded into more intricate objects - flowers, leaves, ribbons, birds, mushrooms - anything, really, but even once it has fully solidified it's still quite delicate.