A SWEET-TOOTHED Sunderland gal is to star in a new TV series aimed at inspiring viewers to get creative with confectionary.
Kitty Hope is the host of Sweets Made Simple, which starts on Friday on BBC2.
The confectioner founded the Hope and Greenwood chain with her husband and TV co-host Mark Greenwood.
She now hopes to do for sweet-making what The Great British Bake Off has done for cakes and buns.
“There’s been such a revolution in cupcakes and baking, and this is just the same really,” said Kitty.
“There are endless possibilities – you’ve got your wedding coming up and you want something special for it, it’s your mum’s birthday, Christmas, Easter.
“It’s so much fun, and what you can create from what looks like a humble little pan of sugar, is amazing.”
Mark added: “We want to see people getting stuck in and actually doing it, rather than buying the book and putting it on the shelf, or watching the TV show.”
The new series comes after a revival in traditional sweet shop goodies, sparked mainly by adults’ nostalgia for the sugary treats of their childhood.
Kitty said memories of sweet shops in Sunderland when she was growing up had played a large part in the development of the series.
“Being a Northerner, I have a very sweet tooth. Sweets were a very important part of Sunday morning in my childhood – going to church, Twinkle magazine and a Pink Panther bar.”
Producers say the couple’s quirky TV series and accompanying book will feature “dribble-inducing” recipes for goodies such as rose and violet creams, raspberry marshmallows, and gin and lime truffles.
With healthy eating and fears of an obesity epidemic, the medical profession may well raise an eyebrow at Kitty’s plans to get us all making sweets.
But the businesswoman said being healthy doesn’t have to mean giving up on completely on sugary indulgence.
“Sweets give you joy – you don’t have to eat loads. You can have something really small and lovely.”
Kitty said she and mark did make sugar-free sweets – but she doesn’t approve of them, except for people with diabetes.
She said: “People shouldn’t buy sugar-free sweets because they’re dieting. I find that really annoying. Just say have a sensible amount of a really good sweet with real sugar in it.”
Kitty’s broadcasting breakthrough comes after spending ten years building up her sweetshop chain with Mark.
In 2004 she decided to turn her love of confectionery into a business venture with her husband.
The couple gave up their day jobs in giftware and antiques, and set up the first Hope and Greenwood shop in Dulwich, South London.
“We went home that night and opened a bottle of wine in the kitchen and went, ‘What have we done?’ because it was just overwhelming,” said Kitty.
A decade on, the business has gone from strength to strength, with a second shop opening in Covent Garden in 2007 and, now the TV series.
Kitty and Mark – who married in 2000 – develop all their recipes at their home on the Kent coast, where their neighbours get to try out their new creations.
“They came around the other day and went home with armfuls of sugar plums,” says Hope. “The postmen love us too.”
•Sweets Made Simple is on BBC2 on 8 August at 8.30pm. All recipes are from the accompanying book, which is out now.