Mmmm… sweet and salty. A classic, yet unlikely flavor combination. At first glance, the union of sweet and salty sounds strange, doesn’t it? It doesn’t sound like it would taste good, but it does and we love it!
The savory flavor of salt enhances the sweetness of some of our favorite treats, just try sprinkling a little salt on your watermelon this summer, you’ll definitely notice a difference!
These are some fairly common examples of sweet and salty flavor combinations:
- Fruit and cheese plates
- Chocolate covered pretzels (or wetzels as they’re known at Winans)
- Trail mix with nuts and chocolate or dried fruit
- French fries dipped in a Wendy’s frosty (it’s an Ohio thing!)
- Peanuts and Dr. Pepper (it’s a southern thing!)
- Peanut butter and banana sandwiches…
You get the idea right? We could go on but we’re starting to get hungry!
The combination of salt with sweet, buttery caramel is one of our favorite new flavor pairings! This tasty union has seen a surge in popularity in the past 10 years. Salted caramels are a traditional treat hailing from Brittany, France. In the late 1990s and early 2000, American chefs became interested in the flavor combo after French pastry chef Pierre Hermé invented a salted caramel macaron.
This isn’t to say that salted caramel as a flavor was completely unfamiliar to Americans. Just think of chocolate turtles (like Winans’ wurtles), pralines and Cracker Jack, which was created in 1893.
We’ve been making caramels for over 50 years at Winans. We still use Max Winans’ original recipe for buttery rich and chewy caramels. For our sea salt caramels, which we debuted 5 years ago, we use fine sea salt instead of the regular salt in the caramel recipe. After the caramel is cooked in our copper kettles, we pour it onto steel tables to cool. Once fully cooled, we cut the caramels into bite-sized rectangles and cover them in milk or dark chocolate. While the chocolate is still warm and melted, we hand sprinkle a touch of Mediterranean sea salt on each one. Just a touch of salt to bring out a little extra sweetness.
Once the caramels run through a cooling tunnel they’re ready to be packaged into gift boxes or sent in stock boxes for filling the candy cases in our stores.
You could enjoy your sea salt caramel on its own, but if you’re also going to get coffee during your next trip to Winans, why not pair your brew with your sweet and salty treat? We recommend pairing a sea salt caramel with our single origin Indonesian Sumatra or Monsoon Malabar coffee or our Mo Joe Blend or Mokka Java Blend. These coffees have earthy notes that pair well with the sweet, buttery flavors of caramel. You also can’t go wrong with a salted caramel latte or our Salted Caramel flavored coffee!
The New York Times: How Caramel Developed a Taste for Salt
How Stuff Works: Why do sweet and salty taste so good together?
How Stuff Works: Who invented salted caramel?
All Recipes: Coffee Pairing
Our Everyday Life: Pairing Coffee with Desserts
Celebrated every October in the U.S., Sweetest Day is a holiday many believe to be made up by industries to boost sales before the upcoming holiday season. Couples from all over will be put under societies pressures to buy and out-perform others for their “sweetie”. We would like to tell you a different story…
It is a little-known fact that Sweetest Day was actually launched in Cleveland, OH. The holiday originated in 1922, in the midst of the docile times of The Great Depression. You may be surprised to find out that Sweetest Day is celebrated in very few regions of the United States, mainly the Great Lakes area. At Winans we also like to celebrate it by promoting the holiday and to encourage our customers to celebrate Sweetest Day traditionally and in the modern sense.
The origin and purpose of Sweetest Day are actually quite interesting. Herbert Birch Kingston is the man responsible for starting the holiday. Kingston was an employee of a candy company and philanthropist. It all began when he and several other candy confectioners took the effort to distribute 20,000 boxes of candy to newsboys, orphans, the elderly, shut-ins and other forgotten people of the local area. Kingston believed that people in that time needed something to make them feel a little sweeter, and who better to give to than the people who had nothing? The holiday did not become popular until these efforts were recognized elsewhere and the word spread.
Later, in the 1940’s, a similar occurrence of philanthropy occurred in New York and several charities and orphanages were donated thousands of boxes of candy. At this time the holiday was proclaimed to occur on the third Saturday of every October. Not until the 60’s did Hallmark begin making greeting cards for Sweetest Day, thus, voiding the term “Hallmark Holiday”.
Today, as previously mentioned, the holiday is celebrated in a romantic sense. It is viewed as another holiday for people to “woo” the one that they are after. However, we want to encourage you to celebrate Sweetest Day in its origin as well. We hope that this year you spread some happiness to the less fortunate or someone in your life that you know works really hard and never gets recognition for it! Friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, the janitor at your school, a teacher, or any number of other people would certainly appreciate a small token of your care and appreciation. (It would not hurt to take a box of chocolate home to your husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend either!) As a chocolate company who donates to several charities over the course of the year, we would love to see our customers pay it forward as well.
Enjoy the holiday and spread the word about what the Sweetest Day of the year really entails. We hope to see you in our stores soon to find that perfect gift for someone special. Thanks for visiting us here on the blog!
This information was found from Sweetest Day Born in Ohio from the Mount Vernon News and Sweetest Day – National Holiday Founded in Cleveland By Sandy Mitchell