Monday, April 27, 2009

Grown Up Candy

Sweets are a part of just about every culture.  It is always a lot of fun when traveling to explore the candies, cookies and deserts available.  I've seen something of a renaissance occurring in the US where it comes to candies particularly, and more specifically chocolate.  When I can go into a run-of-the-mill grocery store and see chocolate bars from around the world with creative flavor combinations, all is right with the world.  
A friend was kind enough to bring some chocolates with liquid caramel from Sahagun Chocolates in Portland, Oregon.  These caramels were quite an experience.  Apart from being beautiful to look at, they were a fairly unique eating experience as well.  In some ways, these can be challenging as they are not your typical chocolate covered caramels.  These are salted, and not entirely subtly so.  The salt is not overpowering, but while I've had salted caramels a number of times and they've gotten much more popular, many are not accustomed to a pronounced salt flavor with their sweets.  This is really the brilliance of it all however.  The salt balances out the sweet and brings out additional flavors.  

Beyond the flavor, the rest of the experience was exciting as well.  I was told specifically that the caramel was to be eaten in one bite.  The caramel inside the chocolate was an unexpectedly thin liquid.  I would compare it to a cordial cherry without the cherry, but perhaps a bit thinner.  The lack of density of the liquid is really what allowed the strength of the salt to work.  If it had been thicker, perhaps the flavors would not have integrated as quickly and the last taste would have been salt...  but it all worked together quite nicely.  

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