Eugene J. Candy Co. is crafting fun and imaginative sweets. The store was founded in March 2016 by a chemical engineer turned full-time confectioner as a place to dream up confections and bring them to life. Initially opened as a specialty candy store, production of candies finally commenced at the start of 2017.
Eugene began candy making as a hobby in his later teens cooking up hard candies, lollipops, caramels and toffees before expanding into gummies, jellies, marshmallows and chocolates. He attended The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, graduating in 2005, and began his career in Research & Development for a Green manufacturer. All the meanwhile, he spent his free time studying candy technologies and enrolling in candy-making short courses offered by the industry. It was in these formative years of learning candy through undergrad and manufacturing that his passion for experimenting and innovating with sweets developed.
In 2009, Eugene dropped everything to immerse himself fully in all things candy. He joined Dylan’s Candy Bar where he gained many skills and was ultimately afforded the opportunity to work directly with Dylan Lauren and her team. Around that time, while re-reading Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, he conceived of the idea of making candies for Wonka’s competitors!
As its name implies, FG. Freaks™ are a play on Wonka Nerds®. They are initialed “FG.” for Fickelgruber, who is Wonka’s fiercest rival in Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book. Fickelgruber, along with Slugworth and Prodnose, are the three competitors named in the book for sneaking spies into Wonka’s factory to steal his secrets.
Slugworth was making candy balloons that could be blown up to incredible sizes; Prodnose made chewing gum that would never lose its flavor; and Fickelgruber came out with his version of a Never Melting Ice Cream – all previous Wonka inventions. Wonka soon closed his factory and it remained closed for many years – that is, until he found his Oompa Loompas.
The candy itself is similar to Nerds® with its crunchy bite and sour flavor. They are distinguished, however, in that they are:
- larger in size (up to 10 times greater by weight)
- have characteristic bumps on the shell surface
- made with only natural colors (vegetable juice and/or spirulina)
- have a matte finish, which means excluding the use of carnauba wax, bees wax and/or shellac as a finish
- available in an almost limitless variety of flavors (currently including acai berry and mango).
The process of making Freaks™ candy is similar to those in making any candy with a candy shell such as Nerds®, jawbreaker, m&m’s®, Skittles®, or jordan almonds. A dextrose coating is “snow-balled” over a sugar core during a 7-hour process, with flavor and color added along the way. After drying for a few more days, the candy shell hardens and are ready to be packaged. The exact recipe, however, is a highly guarded secret.
Freaks™ candy currently come in 1″ x 1″ x 3″ clear boxes. Each pack contains 30 g (1.06 oz) of product and retails for $2.50. Larger, wax-sealed bottles containing 70 g (2.47 oz) of candy are also available in limited runs and retails for $8.00.
Eugene J., Owner/Confectioner
Eugene J. Candy Co.
16 Wilson Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11237
p. (718) 381-1050
c. (347) 693-6921