Chocomania: Chocolate + Caramel = Heaven

Friday, April 10, 2009

One of the flavor combinations that bring me to my knees in joy is chocolate and caramel.  That right there is pure bliss for my taste buds.

There are plenty of cheap versions of chocolate with caramel, but I am a believer in savoring the experience and therefore saving yourself for the Good Stuff.

One of my favorite versions of this treat right now is Ghiradelli’s dark chocolate with caramel.  The dark chocolate is that perfect combination of not too bitter and not too sweet.  The caramel is smooth and runny and makes a mess on your chin if you’re not careful.  If I buy the bar, one or two squares satisfies me, unlike cheap chocolate that keeps me wanting more.

Ghirardelli also makes a milk chocolate version, but it is a pale imitation of my beloved. I’m not a huge fan of dark chocolate, but I’ve learned that it is far superior to milk chocolate when paired with another flavor.

Hershey’s makes Hershey’s Kisses filled with caramel, which are merely okay.  Plus, they must be laced with crack or something, because they leave me wanting more instead of satisfying my sweet tooth.

I was at Starbucks this week and discovered a candy display by the register that included a dark chocolate, coffee, and caramel bar, so of course I had to try it.  The chocolate was so-so — a slightly more bitter version of milk chocolate masquerading as dark chocolate.  The caramel was almost non-existent, so the overall flavor was chocolate with coffee and only a hint of caramel.  Coffee was an interesting addition to the mix and, if the chocolate itself had not been so lame, I think the candy bar could have been quite excellent.

Since I’m an Eco Warrior, I’m always on the lookout for new organic chocolates to try. I had a Green & Blacks Organic milk chocolate with caramel bar recently.  I had heard nothing but rave reviews about this company’s products, so I had high hopes.  In short: Color me unimpressed.  The milk chocolate was creamy and smooth, but frankly I was a little bored by it. The caramel filling was also creamy and smooth, but had an odd aftertaste that I couldn’t quite pin down.  But, mostly, it was just a boring experience.  Frankly, I could have been eating a Cadbury Caramello and the taste would have been nearly the same and I could have saved myself some money in the process.

One of my favorite chocolate companies, Lake Champlain Chocolates, makes one of my favorite treats:  the Caramel Five Star Bar.  Wow.  That’s pretty much all I can say because now my mouth is full of drool just thinking about those chocolatey, caramely lovelies.

Here’s the ingredients list for the caramel:  fresh Vermont cream, butter, sugar, honey, and vanilla.  Then they mix in dark chocolate chunks and almonds and, after that, encase the entire shebang in some of the best milk chocolate I’ve ever had.  Believe me, when you bite into this bar, you can taste the quality.

Unfortunately, this particular treat is around $3.75 per bar and it’s not something that you can stretch out and savor because the caramel oozes out and makes a mess.  So, the Five Star Bar is an occasional treat and not something I’ll indulge in more than once or twice a year.

I’m sure there are plenty of other chocolate caramel options out there in this great big world.  People, what should I try?

Just so we’re all clear:  I’m not employed by any of the companies mentioned here nor was I asked to review their products, but if Ghirardelli or Lake Champlain Chocolates wants me on their payroll, I am totally their Jen.

Entry Filed under: chocomania. Tags: , , , , , .

14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kathy  |  Friday, April 10, 2009 at 12:37 am

    Jen, if you like marshmallow— then try See’s Scotchmallows: dark chocolate, marshmallow, and caramel. Only my all time favorite candy. ;)

  • 2. badness jones  |  Friday, April 10, 2009 at 5:08 am

    I used to love Dove’s caramel easter eggs, but they don’t seem to sell them in Canada anymore. (And I haven’t tried Green & Black’s milk chocolate or caramel, but I am a fan of their Maya Gold bar, and their chocolate hazelnut spread!!)

    Now you’ve got me drooling for a five star bar, which I’m fairly sure I can’t buy here. Do they sell it at Whole Foods? Because I could make a pilgrimage into the city….

  • 3. jenn  |  Friday, April 10, 2009 at 6:21 am

    Those Ghiradelli dark chocolate/caramel squares rock. I have to hide my stash because they’re not peanut-safe, and it just seems mean to eat them in front of my daughter, but I’m not so selfless that I can just give them up.

  • 4. Violet  |  Friday, April 10, 2009 at 9:17 am

    This may be a regional thing, but the kids around here have candy bar fundraisers several times a year. They sell several varieties of Katherine Beich candy bars and my very favorite is the caramel. Not haute chocolate by any stretch, but a nice creamy milk chocolate encasing plenty of soft, sweet caramel. I love to put a piece on my tongue and just let it melt…


  • 5. Julie  |  Friday, April 10, 2009 at 10:33 am

    I just love it when someone adores chocolate and caramel, as I do, my favorite all time chocolate combo!

    I have been a fan of Fran’s for at least 5 years, after first discovering this yummy delight in a Whole Foods during a holiday season . . . never seen this brand before, so I took a chance, because as luck would have it, I was at the mid-month point of craving CHOCOLATE PLUS SALT. Yes, I really couldn’t place my finger on what this combo does to me, other than when I am ovulating, this is what the body screams for.

    That said, Fran had a package of 7 treats, chocolate caramels, with a sprinkling of sea salt on the top.

    10 bucks for 7 little bites of heaven. Fran’s is based out of Washington (state), and her website is chocolate porn to the highest. . .

    Whole Foods usually carries her goods, her gold bars (in the lovely gold foil) with macadamia nuts or almonds are not too pricey for what you get, and really a mouth-gasm in the checkout line! (I usually don’t get out of the store before I start eating one).

    Otherwise, I’d spring for some of Fran’s via her website. Truly, the BEST chocolate I’ve ever tasted, and I have had a few on your list.

  • 6. Smalltown Mom  |  Friday, April 10, 2009 at 11:11 am

    I haven’t even had breakfast yet and now all I want is chocolate.

  • 7. Smalltown Mom  |  Friday, April 10, 2009 at 11:12 am

    OK, it’s 8:11 where I am. I’m not THAT lazy.

  • 8. paperdiva  |  Friday, April 10, 2009 at 11:37 am

    those Lake Champlain ones look delish!!!
    Did your package arrive?

  • 9. bdaiss  |  Friday, April 10, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Mmmm….Chocolate and caramel? *bliss*
    I may have to pick up some Ghiradelli for the road trip!

    I hadn’t heard of Lake Champlain Chocolates. But the truffles they’re showing on their website are making me drool. Too bad when I check the “retailers” there’s no SD listed. Drat. I really need to open up a gourmet food shop for high quality organic goodies. Too bad it wouldn’t be appreciated by the masses here.

  • 10. Vanessa  |  Friday, April 10, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Chocolate and caramel is always a perfect combination. Especially the Ghiradelli ones.

  • 11. Lori Anderson  |  Friday, April 10, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Chocolate + caramel = Lori snapping, “NO I will not share!” to a six year old.

  • 12. Kirstin  |  Friday, April 10, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    This time of year, I always find myself looking around at the check-out counter for those Hershey’s Peanut Butter and Chocolate eggs. Wish I had one right now…

  • 13. kate  |  Saturday, April 11, 2009 at 2:37 am

    there are a surprising number of caramel haters in the world. i am not one.

  • 14. melissawest  |  Saturday, April 11, 2009 at 11:50 am

    I thought I’d love the Ghiradelli ones, but our local chocolatier has spoiled me for anything but their own. So yummy-I like to have to bite into the caramel, and a dark chocolate creamy crust around it…oh dear.

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