When we sent samples of our chocolate company’s Salted Caramels to the New York Times last month, my partner Jennie and I didn’t think much would come of it. How wrong we were. The review was released in the early hours of the morning on February 6, listing Hedonist Artisan Chocolates among the top ten. By mid-morning, the phone was ringing off the hook and we had more orders coming through our website than we had in all of 2012!
Our Salted Caramel was among 27 American small-batch, chocolate-covered salted caramels sampled in a blind tasting. The review described it as:
Chewy and Well Balanced. With a touch of vanilla and the right hit of salt, the caramel has what Karen DeMasco called ‘a beautiful runny consistency.’ It melts on the tongue once the chocolate dissolves.
A picture of our Salted Caramel appeared on the front page of the Times that day, with the article starting on the front page of the Dining section (D1) and continuing with a full page on D7. The content of the article can be found online http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/06/dining/the-best-in-the-box-chocolate-covered-salted-caramels-for-valentines-day.html?smid=pl-share with a multimedia gallery showing all the top ten caramels here http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/02/05/dining/chocolate-tasting.html?ref=dining
Local chocolate lovers have always known that our caramel was special, but now the word is out. Jennie spent years working on the recipe and we did not release a Salted Caramel until 2011, four years after our company started making chocolate in Rochester’s South Wedge neighborhood. We wanted it to be unique in a world already filled with so many versions of this now classic confection. Instead of corn syrup she chose a more natural alternative, brown rice syrup. The other ingredients are simple: sugar, vanilla bean, fleur de sel and local cream from Pittsford Dairy.
Our current head chocolatier, Nathaniel Mich, has perfected the production of the recipe and led the team in the production of over 20,000 caramels to meet the demand of both national and local orders for Valentine’s Day. All of the staff and many volunteer friends worked long days over the weekend to pack, label and ship thousands of Salted Caramel orders to arrive in time to be enjoyed on Valentine’s Day. You can see pictures of this process on our Facebook page.
Valentine’s Day has come and gone, so now the team can put more focus on the many other delicious chocolates offered in their shop on South Avenue for the next chocolate holiday: Easter. However, Salted Caramel orders are still coming in daily on the website and show little sign of stopping…
You can try our Salted Caramels for yourself, they are available for purchase on our website: buy Hedonist’s Salted Caramels