The candy factory was on a palm lined road a few miles from Siem Riep. The sugar to make the candy is obtained from the flowers of the sugar palm tree which are common in Cambodia. A container is set high in the top of the tree and the blossoms set into it in a way that their juice can be collected. Each morning someone climbs the tree and collects the liquid. This juice is used in daily food preparation as well as making the candy. Perhaps it is also used to make a palm wine as they do in India and Africa.
The candy making process looked to me to be similar to making fudge. The stirring process is important as beating the candy prevents a granular texture. The woman wearing the red outfit must have strong arms and hands. You’ll know this if you have ever made fudge the old-fashioned way.
This woman has removed the hardened candy from its little palm leaf mold. (those are the little round things covering her ‘work table’) She is holding strips of washed and bent palm fronds which will form the package for the small round candies. She uses several strips to form a sort of cone, slides the candy one by one into it, then covers them with another strip of frond and ties the whole thing with a tiny piece of string. It is a work of art in itself.
Of course, I bought some candy. The packaging was so clever that I hated to open it, but I did. The candy reminded me of maple sugar candy but without the pronounced maple taste. It was good.