Sweet Saba products.
Maayan Zilberman was born on a kibbutz in Israel and grew up in Vancouver, Canada. She graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City with a degree in sculpture and later continued her studies at the Ratti Foundation in Como, Italy.
Zilberman spent the last 15 years of her life working as a creative director and designer in the luxury lingerie industry. In November 2015, she left her career to start the company Sweet Saba, dedicated to the manufacture of handmade treats, candies, and chewing gum primarily designed for adults.
The original sweets reflect humor and memories and offer a multi-sensory experience for unusual palates. Developed by Zilberman, her candy has achieved success thanks to their unique flavors and concept, and also for a certain naïf and playful touch she brings to her products.
The Rolex watch candy by Sweet Saba feature 24K edible gold.
It all began almost unexpectedly when Maayan Zilberman started making eucalyptus candies to relieve a cough. The challenge was how to make them different, playing with shapes, flavors, and colors.
Currently, Sweet Saba is a booming business managed from a small kitchen-workshop in Fort Gansevoort, Manhattan, where Zilberman shapes sweets that resemble crystals, rocks, and precious stones. The largest samples are made with sugar, turmeric, mint, olive oil, and natural dyes in lively and unusual colors.
She also creates handmade candies that are small works of art in whimsical shapes such as police handcuffs, sunglasses, Rolex watches, CDs, markers, pens, lipstick pencils, books, brushes, and toothbrushes, among many other things.
She uses silicone molds in which she pours liquefied sugar to obtain the desired shapes. The charm of these treats is their imperfection, for the artist doesn’t try to make them exactly as the original articles, but instead wants to make unique objects, identifiable with her understanding of that reality.
Cassette tape candy by Sweet Saba.
Many of her creations are “nostalgic” treats—the depiction of her memories shaped like candies— some bear the names of European capitals, the result of an unforgettable journey she made in 1999 just before going to college; CDs, which reflect her musical tastes, or candy brushes, inspired by her makeup kit.
The creative entrepreneur is particularly proud of her chewing gum. It comes in innovative flavors and shapes and is made using the resin of the Chicle trees that grow in Mexico. “I use Chicle and not the rubber with which chewing gum is currently made,” says Zilberman.
Her creations were featured at last year’s Golden Globe Awards, where they were offered at the party held after the event. Zilberman says that her sweets have also drawn the attention of the art community in New York, where many artists have come to her exquisite atelier to observe the creating process of her treats.
Sweet Saba candies are inspired in personal items, gems, and a bit of nostalgia.
One unique item is her sweet rendition of the Rolex watch. The luxurious candy features edible 24-karat gold and comes in whiskey, champagne, or cinnamon flavors. One of her most demanded and successful creations are music cassettes, commissioned by some famous rappers, whose names were not revealed by Zilberman.
Maayan Zilberman plans to open in a near future a store inside the Standard High Line hotel in New York.
Copyright Photos: Maayan Zilberman. ■