Honestly, I dont think school is all that nessesary for hard candy. How much time have you spent dabbling in pulled sugar? Practice practice practice, and you'll come up with some creative items. Pick up the book Chocolates and Confections, that will get you started. Also, get the paste colorant from Chef Rubber and candy oils from Lorann oils. The colors and flavors should not contain water, that will give you the best result for hard candies.
Chocolates and Confections has a good section on pulled sugar that applies specifically to candy, something that will be consumed. Also, get the book The Art of the Confectioner. Even though the latter book is mainly for sugar showpiece, its still pulled sugar and a good reference to have.
I really do hope that Chocolates and Confections inspires you to go beyond hard candy. The section on non-crystilline candies is the best, and can inspire anyone.
Ive seen what papabubble does, and its pretty cool, they do good work. There's also many other companies like them (Made in Candy, Sugar Sugar, Red Balloon Candy Artisans). My personal gripe is that they deal ONLY in hard candy. It does look neat making the little logos and patterns of fruit on the cross section of the candy, but at the end of the day, its really expensive hard candy. If you want to do hard candy, start pulling sugar. Add a flavoring oil to your sugar, cut in bite sized pieces, and you have hard candy. The colors and patterns are really up to your own creativity. Are you able to get a job at Papabubble?
Honestly, thats been one of the most interesting things about confections, it doesn't seem like there's any schools at all that teach it. Notters school will teach you all about sugar, but focus on showpiece aspect. Many culinary schools have a confections course, but won't gove you enough time or cover all the subjects well enough for you to become proficient at it, since much of the education is focused on pastry or cuisine. I hope it work out well for you in Europe, I think your best bet is to learn from someone who's been doing it their whole life...and that probably how they learned. It really is a special skill set, thats why you dont see too many Papabubbles all over the place :-)
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