BIG, fluffy clouds of fairy floss is the stuff childhood memories are made of.
Those are the moments Judith Kotz wanted to create with the launch of The Flossery.
The dedicated gourmet fairy floss shop in Wallsend has close to 40 flavours on the menu, making it much like an ice-cream parlour, but with fairy floss as the drawcard. Kotz recently re-opened after closing due to COVID-19, although a silver lining did emerge during the lockdown period.
"After we shut the doors, customers began asking for fairy floss deliveries. The local community really supported me through that, so I was able to keep my head above water," Kotz says.
"Kids were sending fairy floss to their friends and grandparents sent it to their grandkids because they couldn't see each other. That's what kept me going, too, because when I'd knock at the door, I would see the kids come out and pick it up, and they were ever so excited. It was really brilliant."
The Flossery is open again, with a few changes. One customer is allowed in store at a time and fairy floss is only available in cups, rather than on sticks ("Just because people can't properly wash their hands before they eat it, but the sticks will come back eventually," Kotz explains).
She has added rainbow fairy floss cakes to the menu (available pre-order only), as well as large rainbow buckets with six flavours ($10), and a range of new flavours including toasted caramel, marshmallow, grape and blue cola.
Kotz operates The Flossery with husband David, a former pastry chef who has worked closely with his wife in developing the flavours.
"Normally when people think of fairy floss, they usually just think of the blue or pink stuff," Kotz says. "We thought 'Maybe we can make our own flavours' and when we started doing that, we thought 'Hang on, we're on to something here'."
Lemon, orange, strawberry, cherry, mango, lime, peach, apple and raspberry are on offer, alongside bubble gum, lemonade, tutti frutti, butter popcorn, honeycomb, peppermint and musk. For grown-ups, there's cinnamon, coffee and Devonshire cream, and if you simply want traditional flavoured fairy floss, that's on the menu too.
"It's a trip back to your childhood, and with all the different flavours we have, it just amps it up that little bit extra," she says.
"Even people that haven't heard about the flavours and just think it's a fairy floss shop, they come in and go 'Wow, we didn't know there were that many flavours of fairy floss' and we tell them that's because we created the sugars ourselves."
The Flossery opened in January during the school holidays.
Kotz purchased the store's fairy floss machine a few years back with a plan to sell at market events. Life got in the way, so the idea was put on hold until last year when Kotz, who was working as a delivery driver, decided to offer a service of her own.
"I thought 'People order desserts and food all the time, so why not order fairy floss?'," Kotz says.
She began making fairy floss at home which she delivered to customers via online orders, which led to requests to cater for events such as birthdays and baby showers. A shop was the next step. Kotz set out to create a space bursting with colour and fun.
"I wanted to create an experience for the little kids so they could come in and go "Wow...' like it's a shop especially for them. The smell, the experience."
Customers can choose from a menu of flavours which are either freshly spun or ready to go in a take-home container ($4 for a large cup/stick, $2.50 for a small cup/stick).
"My favourite flavour is cinnamon. It's more on the spice side than on the donut side, so it's a little different," Kotz says. "My husband's favourite is the Devonshire cream, which he tells everyone as soon as they come in."