“The New Salted Caramel…

…is Salted Caramel” *

 The success of salted caramel is continuing to have major ramifications, and not just in confectionery. But where did it come from and why has it been so successful ?

 Salted caramels have long been a feature of Brittany and Normandy cuisine. In the UK Marks & Spencer’s introduced a line of salted caramel chocolates in 2006 which did not meet with customer approval. Subsequently Paul A Young introduced them into his range and they have not looked back. Michelle Obama is a convert (reportedly favouring Fran’s of Seattle) whilst The Telegraph’s Chocolate Editor Andrew Baker also rates highly those produced by Wayne Gregory and Prestat.

 Mainstream chocolate companies were quick to respond, with Divine winning a Q in 2013 for their The Co-operative Truly Irresistible Fairtrade Ghanaian Milk Chocolate with Toffee and Sea Salt. Whilst a chocolate range without salted caramel would be unthinkable, other caramels are on their way. William Curley has a Muscavado Caramel and a Lemon Curd Caramel, whilst Hotel Chocolat have recently launched Liquorice Caramel. However chocolate consultant Will Torrent is not the only commentator to feel there is a lot of life left in Salted Caramel. Last year the Great British Salted Chocolate Challenge attracted over 50 entries.

 So salted confectionery is here to stay. Personally I can only say “what took you so long?” I first tried chocolate-coated pretzels and potato crisps at the New York Fancy Food show twenty-five years ago. I thought both were wonderful, although only the former seem to have caught on. You need to try a crunchy, pan-fried and sea salted potato chip that has been part coated in high cocoa-solids milk chocolate at least once in your life.

 Cadbury’s Fingers recently got into the act by launching Salted Peanut Butter Crunch and coming up with the rather ugly term “swavoury” to describe the resultant combination of sweet and salty taste. Other “swavoury” product areas where this works well include Jude’s salted caramel ice-cream and Demarquette’s Cornish Clotted Cream and Sea Salt caramel sauce.

 But. Product Developers please note: Salted Caramel is not the answer to everything and does not work well in every product group. Salted Caramel Granola was not a pleasant experience and as for Salted Caramel Pork Rind Cereal…well there are times when it really pays to be a vegetarian.

 ( *Will Torrent said that, at the end of the Quality Food Awards judging in 2014 )