Heavily salted butter caramels are a traditional treat in Brittany. But they didn’t arrive here until recently. . Roll back time to the year 2008, the year when the Credit Crunch hit and the world plunged into a banking crisis-led recession. It wasn’t a great year… except it also happened to be the year in which salted caramel came into its own.
It was a combination that French chefs had long been aware of; that tangy, satisfyingly salty end to what was otherwise a burst of super sweet flavour. But in 2008 it hit the ground running, fast becoming the go-to flavour of the year. Not long afterwards it was no longer an elite culinary obsession but had gone mainstream.
These days you get salted caramel chocolate, both milk and plain. You can buy salted caramel protein cookies, biscuits, cakes, brownies, dips, ice cream, you name it. And thanks to us, you can buy the most awesome, mouth-watering sea salt fudge imaginable. One small idea has come an awfully long way!
The epic rise of salted caramel
The ice cream experts Häagen-Dazs created their own salted caramel ice cream in spring 2008. Starbucks joined the line six months later with their infamous salted caramel hot chocolate. WalMart joined in, creating a hugely popular home-branded chocolate truffles. Then US president elect Barack Obama confessed to a mild obsession with smoked sea-salted caramels smothered in dark chocolate, and the idea really took off. The experimental Parisian pastry chef Pierre Hermé sealed the deal in the late ’90s by creating a unique salted caramel macaron that shot to cult status in the USA, and the cat was well and truly out of the bag.
Experts say the meteoric rise of salted sweet treats has happened remarkable quickly. Not so long ago a rarefied item only found in smart Parisian pastry shops, now it’s all over the world, available in more or less every shop that sells sweet stuff. Perhaps that’s because the arrival of salted sweets collided with the internet, a medium that spreads new ideas faster than ever before.
Salted chocolate hits the big time
The same goes for salted chocolate. In another meteoric rise, pastry chefs at top New York restaurants in the year 2000 jumped on the bandwagon, adding extra salt to enhance sweetness. They even added a topping of salt – sometimes smoked salt – to chocolate caramel tarts, molten chocolate cakes and ice cream.
In 2003 Fran’s Chocolates, the Seattle company that made Obama’s favourites, won an award from the National Association for the Speciality Food Trade. In 2004 Gourmet magazine featured a recipe for a fleur de sel caramel . Now it turns up in restaurants and supermarkets, corner shops, supermarket own-brands, you name it.
A legend in the making – Our very own Devon-made sea salt fudge
Our very own hand made Devon fudge collection comes complete with a salted fudge option. It’s rich and creamy, not too sweet, with oodles of that magical salty tang that enhances the sweetness. We use the finest sea salt crystals which we only add when the fudge starts to cool down, so the crystals stay intact for an extra-special crunch. Tantalising or what!