Follow Me Foodie: The obsession with salted caramel… and the alternatives!

Photo from Sweet Salty Caramel by Debbiz Zahler

Follow Me Foodie: A little salt with your caramel?

By Mijune Pak , Follow Me Foodie – WE Vancouver
Published: November 01, 2013 6:00 PM
Updated: November 01, 2013 6:44 PM

Earlier this year, salted caramel made it to my “Top 10 food trends I want to see die in 2013” blog post, but the year is ending and it’s still going strong.

Salted caramel is outselling chocolate as the most popular confectionary flavour. I can’t deny the flavour is here to stay, but is it really that infatuating?

It is not that I hate salted caramel — I actually like it a lot — but it’s become so overdone and predictable it has lost its creative spark and appeal.

The flavour combination has exploded in North America in the last five to 10 years, even though the first signs of it were in Brittany, France in the 1800s, where its early roots were in biscuit or cookie making. Salt was used to preserve butter and the butter would be used to make sweet cookies and eventually other sweets too.

Salty sweet desserts are also very traditional in Thailand; they use salt in mango desserts, coconut desserts, sweet sticky rice and more.

But let’s not undersell ourselves here. Anyone remember “Take me out to the ball game”? And what would you buy there? Cracker Jack, an American snack introduced in 1896 made of caramel popcorn and salty peanuts. Isn’t that a bit like “salted caramel”? You might also recognize Crunch ‘n Munch from the 1960s, a Cracker Jack-inspired product.

Many professional and home cook recipes for caramel have always included salt, whether it be a pinch or a teaspoon, but “salted” would rarely be advertised. Makers and marketers probably didn’t want to confuse people by suggesting something sweet would suddenly become salty. Now, it is the reverse and emphasizing “salted caramel” can increase sales. People are addicted to it.

Many people make excellent salted caramel candies and desserts in the city. It is classic, but classic can sometimes get boring. Here are some creative and refreshing salt alternatives in caramel. They’ll provide a different kind of saltiness, but that’s the point. READ THE FULL ARTICLE.

See more Follow Me Foodie stories from Mijune in the WE Vancouver:

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