Ice cream, vodka, tea, crisps…
It seems that over the last few years salted caramel has managed to infiltrate itself into every possible food and drink sector (not that I’m complaining!). But how has this wonderful concoction become such a staple flavour in mainstream society?
The origins of salted caramel
To understand the origins of salted caramel, we have to take it back to 1343, when King Phillip VI imposed a national salt tax in France. Consequently, salt became a luxury which only the rich could afford, and salted butter became a rarity. Nevertheless, due to Brittany’s ‘free county’ status, the region was able to avoid such a tax. As a result, Brittany became renowned for its superior salted butter.
Jumping forward a few centuries
Henri Le Roux is born, the son of a famous pastry chef. After absorbing knowledge from his father, and gaining an unrivalled education at an outstanding Swiss cookery school, Le Roux moved to Quiberon in Brittany, where he opened his very own chocolate factory and shop in 1976. As a new business owner, he wanted to create a product that would differentiate his shop and factory from other similar enterprises.
Le Roux decided to use the region’s key ingredient (salted butter) to create a salted butter caramel with crushed nuts. Such a success was the salted butter caramel, Le Roux was awarded ‘Best Sweet in France’ in 1980 by the Salon International de la Confisserie in Paris. However, at this point salted caramel remained a combination only used and experimented with by the cheffing elites.
Let’s jump forward to 2008
Salted caramel suddenly flooded the mainstream market. 2008 saw the introduction of Häagen-Dazs’ salted caramel ice cream, and shortly after, Starbucks began selling their salted caramel hot chocolate (it must be trendy if Starbucks use it).
Before long, a number well-known brands and restaurant chains had adopted the flavour, resulting to salted caramel being as common on our supermarket shelves as Heinz baked beans…
Want a salted caramel fix in the Lake District?
The Fizzy Tarté have recently introduced their Salted Milk Chocolate & Caramel Tarté Slice to the menu.