Arad Confectionery has a rich history, something known by very few people. This shows that Arad has excelled in all areas. The old guild of pastry cooks had around 17 master confectioners in the interwar period, including Konizdofler, Drifi, Suciu, Malka, Klementz, Ramniceanu, Orban and others.
I wonder how many of you know that in Arad we have the only museum of confectionery in the country. Myself, I’ve recently learnt about it and I was amazed hearing this news, and when I heard that it was opened in 2006, I wondered where sat this news until now. I got the answer – in Sanicolau. More exactly, on the Nicolaus Lenau Street 3, in the house of Ioan Gui (n.1939), one of the old confectioners of the city. The museum is located in two rooms of his house, and the exhibits were collected by him in over 30 years, some of the technical equipment being recovered from scrap iron deposits.
As soon as Mr. Gui, a warm and welcoming figure, invites us into the first room of the museum, our gaze moves towards a serving table made during the early 1900, covered with green marble. After that, our attention is attracted by a full window with chocolate shapes for cake, sweet burnt sugar. Young men comprise a burning lust for sweets, while those who have experienced the times when those forms went through confectioners grabbed a slight melancholy and longing for those days of natural products, clean, healthy, without replacement, powders, synthetic materials – using a more contemporary term – bio.
Near this window full of melancholy, our gaze is kidnapped by a grinder poppy machine, fairly large size. The machine dates from the ’20s, using manpower to work. This grinders poppy machine has its origins in the Francis Wild confectionery, located along King Ferdinand Avenue, number 9 (today, Revolutiei Boulevard). On the left side of the poppy grinding machine, before entering into the second room of the museum, we see a mixer dating from the 30s, which is operated by a belt connected to an electric motor.
In the second room, we can observe an ice cream machine, manually operated. At the time, the ice for the ice cream was brought in the winter, from the river, put in the confectionary’s cellars, on straw and in the spring it was removed to make ice cream. That was until in Arad was set up an ice factory named “Flora” in the 50s. After that, it began to supply the city with the required ice. Also, from the manual machines category, we see the candy making machine, too, and with different arms of different designs for small candies. These candies were made of caramel, which boils at 145 degrees, pour on a specially designed table, and after it cooled a little, it was gathered, cut to the right size and it was passed through this machine. Another type of candy is the fondant ones, which once was put on the Christmas tree.
The new generation of machines came when the electric current appeared. Since an electric motor was very expensive, one feed more machines, as in other areas. We observe a powder sugar making machine roller. A very powerful machine at the time, rising the technical equipment of the Arad Confectioneries to the European level. This machine helped to create rolled sheets of chocolate or marzipan and it was manufactured in Dresden (Germany), the manufacturer company having branches in New York and Paris.
The walls of the museum are full of images of the life times of glory of the pastry cooks and Confectioneries from Arad. Among these we find images and pictures of the oldest Pastry Shop in Arad, meetings with master bakers, culinary art exhibitions and more. Our gaze stops in front of another window full of forms for chocolates, different topics and religious holidays such as Easter, Christmas, New Year and others. These chocolate patterns were fabricated in Dresden, in a particular metal, which does not stick to liquid chocolate. In the next window we find forms for corn shaped marzipan, Easter eggs, peaches and others. In the museum, we also see a scale used in confectioneries from Arad, manufactured in Arad by the Garai Company.
On a working table, we see grinding machines for different materials, manufactured in Hungary, Germany and Austria. Interesting things in the museum are the two presentation boxes, which were used in presentations when a larger cafeteria was invited to a culinary show. So, because they didn’t want to interrupt their production, they were sending a “commercial traveller” with samples of their products to be presented.
In Germany there have been machines that beat the egg whites and the yolks separately in the 20s. A confectionery owner from Arad, seeing this kind of machine in a German magazine, showed it to an engineer from the Carload factory (ASTRA in Arad) what he had in mind, and the engineer built him one in the Astra factory from Arad. The machine worked with electricity and had a production of 3 to 4 thousand eggs a day.
One of the confectioners from Arad settled during the Second World War in Canada, where, with other confectioners he opened a confectionary. He is constantly sending images and information from the branch to Mr.Gui, this master being a proof of the master’s talent from Arad.
Like any other confectionary master had his notebook with his own recepies, one of them, Emil Frederic, published in the 1920s a recepies book with the cakes he prepared in his own confectionery. This book is the first book of this kind to be published in Romanian. The book, among other special magazines, is found in Mr. Gui’s collection. Another beautiful book is a German one, edited in 1904 and in 1914 by a confectioner from Lipova (Arad County), who opened a confectionary in Arad later on, on the Marasesti street.
Mr Gui declared that he works on a book, having the subject “The art in the confectionary”, which was started in 1978 and started again in 2011.
In the end, I come with two proposals – first of all, for the people from Arad: please visit Mr Gui! The second one, for the mayor and his team: I advise you to open your eyes and realize the value of this unique museum in the country and make every effort possible to move it in a central area of the city, to be approachable not only to the citizens of Arad, but also to the tourists that are passing by. As the city of Arad aspires to the great title of European Cultural Capital in the year 2021, such rare things – in this case, unique – are a plus, this is why this museum does not have to be ignored and it does not have to be left where it currently is placed, but it has to be brought in the attention of the citizens of Arad.
Source – Blog Aradean
Author – Eugen Rogojan
Translated from Romanian by – Denisa Dumitru, Daria Rusu