Sunday, November 27, 2016

Tasting Notes: Bread & Butter Caramels #ShopSmall

I can make caramels. I am pretty darn good at making caramel sauce. That process I have perfected; maybe it's because it doesn't require a candy thermometer. But making caramel candies - wrapped in wax paper - that are a uniform size and the perfect texture...I'm not as good at that.

Thankfully a foodie friend of mine suggested I go to the caramel tasting for a local business called Bread & Butter Caramels. The owner was unveiling her 2016 flavors.

Though I never ever go out on Black Friday, I am happy to support Small Business Saturday. The Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf and I waited for a lull in the rain before heading out with shopping bags and an adventurous spirit.

We walked into the hosting store and I recognized the business owner and confectioner behind Bread & Butter Caramels. Lauren Palminteri. Turns out that years and years ago, she took a summer school class I taught. She was in high school and I am pretty sure that was the first year that I taught, so I didn't even have R. What a treat to see her...and taste her delicious caramels!

D and I tasted all the flavors she was offering. And, since we couldn't decide, we bought two of each flavor: Hot Apple Cider, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Milk & Honey, and Salted. We also grabbed some of her honeycomb candy and two bags of homemade marshmallows.

We headed home for lunch and, for dessert, held a caramel tasting to see which ones Jake and R liked best.

Hot Apple Cider: This has a strong apple flavor with a nice depth from the bourbon. It was my favorite and D's favorite. I can see enjoying this with a mug of Ponche Navideño (Christmas Punch) in front of the fireplace.

Sticky Toffee Pudding: This caramel was Jake's favorite with richness from both brown sugar and dates. Inspired by Lauren's favorite dessert, she recommends eating these with a flute of sparkling wine. Me? I can imagine eating them while sipping on a mug of Smoking Bishop.

Milk & Honey: R's favorite caramel was Lauren's Milk & Honey. Sweet cream, local honey, and homemade honeycomb candy. It was delightfully buttery and rich. I think I'd pour a glass of ice wine with it.

Salted: The salted caramel was tasty and I anticipated that I would like it the best, considering my usual penchant for savories. Though it was delicious and well-made, it didn't stand out from among her other flavors.

Given that I usually rooted in the savory camp, I was surprised to find myself perusing her website, at almost midnight, struggling to decide what to order for the holidays. But she has three things going for her: (1) her caramels are delicious; (2) her caramels are unique; and (3) she's a local gal.

Now I'm a huge fan of Bread & Butter Caramels and can't wait to get my hands on more. And I am looking forward to her Spring tasting, too. Until then, don't be surprised if you see a box of these in your stocking from me.

You can find Bread & Butter Caramels on the web and on instagram.
And, if you're local, her caramels are sold at Bright Coffee inside lilify.

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