Checkerboard Caramels from Fran’s Chocolates

Posted: December 12, 2011 in Product Review

To learn more about Fran’s Chocolates, visit their website.

Product Description:

A showcase assortment of our classic soft, butter caramels and our award-winning salted caramels.

What I Think:

I love caramels!  So I was so very excited when I received this package from my Secret Santa (I am a co-moderator of a tea group, and we have a Secret Santa Swap every year), direct from Fran’s Chocolates – as they make my favorite caramel of all time (or at least, one of them!):  the Grey Salt Caramel.  YUM!

The package arrived at my doorstep via FedEx, and inside the box was a beautifully packaged gift box filled with caramels from Fran’s Chocolates.  But not just the Grey Salt Caramels (which is – admittedly – the only caramel from Fran’s that I had tried up until now), but an assortment that also included some of their Milk Chocolate Caramels, Dark Chocolate Caramels, and Smoked Salt Caramels.

Each of these caramels have something in common, and that is that at the core of each confection is a sweet, rich and chewy caramel.  I prefer these at room temperature so that the caramel is chewy but not hard to the tooth.  The caramel has an incredibly smooth texture, and a lovely creaminess to it.  (That is not to say that these are the milky, runny kind of caramels, these are toothsome and chewy, but even so, they possess a really wonderful creaminess to them)

Of the four in this assortment, the milk chocolate is probably my least favorite (although, it is kind of weird to say that, as I am thoroughly enjoying all four).  I find that the milk chocolate caramel is just a tad bit too sweet, with the sweet milk chocolate and the sweet caramel, there is very little to offset the sweetness.  That being said, these are still incredibly delicious and my sweet tooth approves.

The dark chocolate caramel has just enough of that cacao bitterness to it to provide contrast to the sweet caramel.  The definition in flavors is dramatically different with this confection versus the milk chocolate.  I can taste a buttery richness to the caramel, as well as the slight “burnt sugar” taste of the caramel.  Where as the flavors of the milk chocolate caramel were more smooth and seemed to meld together seamlessly, this caramel has much more complexity to the flavor … which is why I find myself preferring it.

But really, the best caramels, in my opinion, are salted caramels.  Since I tried salted caramels some years ago, I fell in love instantly and it is my preferred caramel confection.   And that very first salted caramel that I tried was a Grey Salt Caramel from Fran’s!  And they remain my favorite, now that I’ve tried all four of the caramels that Fran’s Chocolates offers in this Checkerboard Caramel gift box.  They are a perfect balance of sweet, chewy caramel, dark chocolate that is sweet with just the right amount of bitterness, and salt.  This balance allows for the subtle flavors of each component to come through, making for a very satisfying and indulgent experience.

The smoked salt caramels are amazing too.  The caramel is enrobed in milk chocolate, making for a sweeter, creamier confection, but this sweeter flavor candy works well with the smoked salt, because it allows the subtle smokiness to come through (whereas it might be a bit overwhelmed by the stronger flavor of the dark chocolate).  The milk chocolate is sweet and creamy, and melds well with the caramel.  The salt adds a nice little crunch to the bite and the salty is a perfect contrast to the sweet, and the lightest touch of smoke is delightful!   So amazingly good.

My Final Thoughts:

What a lovely and delicious Christmas surprise this Checkerboard Caramels box was.  And after having spent the last year trying some pretty phenomenal caramels (thanks to that subscription to Foodzie), I can still say that Fran’s Chocolates makes the best chocolate covered caramels that I’ve tasted, and I also love that they are located right here in the state of Washington!

A big thanks to my Secret Santa, you were so good to me this year:  THANK YOU!

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