It is so hard to find a good caramel. One that makes your eyes soften, your shoulders relax, and provokes an involuntary exhale as the caramel is released from its thin chocolate shell. One that melts like butter when it hits your tongue and engulfs your whole body in blissful warmth as the flavors dance upon your taste buds. To be honest, I don’t think I knew that caramels this good existed before now, though I’d certainly hoped. Christopher Elbow, you are now one of my food heroes.
After having my first San Francisco food truck experience a couple Wednesdays ago (after which I definitely recommend Deconstructed Samosas from Curry Up Now!), my friend Anna and I passed by the chocolate shop on Hayes St., which she highly recommended for a special occasion. (Thank you, Anna!) Since it was just a few days before Valentine’s Day, we decided the occasion was special enough to go pick out a few little chocolates for our Daniels. (This makes four friends of mine married to or otherwise involved with men named Daniel, all of whom are engineers of some sort. Any hypotheses about this?) After my experiences with these chocolates, I’m pretty sure I need to make up some more special occasions, like “Hooray, it’s Wednesday!” or “I am within a few blocks of the chocolate shop.”
Since my Dan is into whiskey and scotch, I automatically chose the Whiskey Walnut (“walnut marzipan topped with a whiskey ganache”) and Single Malt Scotch (“dark chocolate ganache infused with 12 year old single malt scotch”). Incapable of choosing between any of the other beautiful morsels in front of me, I asked the salesperson which ones were her favorite, thus ending up with Black Currant (“black currant paté de fruit topped with dark chocolate ganache and cassis”), Caramel with Fleur de Sel (“a soft caramel ganache made with French sea salt”), and a heart-shaped Passion Fruit caramel (“caramel made with the tropical taste of passion fruit”) to top it off.
All of the chocolates had an incredibly smooth texture, especially the single malt scotch, which was silky with just a subtle hint of scotch. The black currant contrasted the dark chocolate with wonderful, slightly tart berry flavor. Alas, neither of us could really taste the whiskey in the whiskey walnut one, but I certainly can’t say it wasn’t still tasty! (It could have been the wine and very garlicky pizza we had for dinner immediately beforehand, though, so perhaps we’ll simply just have to try it again.) As you’ve probably figured out by now, though, the caramels were our favorite. Incredibly smooth, with not even a hint of the usual stick-to-your-teeth quality of most caramels. My next trip to the shop will definitely entail trying each and every caramel—starting with the rosemary and lavender ones—in order to determine whether this bliss is sustainable. Someone has to do it, right?