Born and raised a nonconformist, I have a confession to make. I may have a bit of a thing for the whole salty caramel food craze that’s sweeping the nation. Verily I say unto you, all my relatives would turn over in their unconventional graves upon hearing that I’ve succumbed to a food fad.
The widespread craving for this delectable bipolar combination I know to be a fact, because no matter where my travels take me, I’m exactly three seconds too late for the last morsel of salt encrusted fudge, or incredible salted-caramel-mocha-Starbucks-grande phenom.
Yes, you read that right — even the great all-brewing coffee empire from the west couldn’t produce an overpriced cup of liquid perfection on the one day I was treating myself. They were out of the salt, the barista said. HOW can you be out of salt? I mean, there’s plenty out on the roads right now in preparation for more winter mayhem of sleet and ice. And surely we can track down a pillar left over from Sodom and Gomorrah somewhere.
I’ve lost count of the times when cruel twists of fate (and false advertising) led to a wild goose chase of confectionary disappointment. My beloved Trader Joe’s Christmas flyer, for heaven’s sake, lured me into crazed holiday crowds with the promise of real honest-to-goodness salty caramel delights, that were a callous no-show in the candy aisle among ample quantities of coconut bonbons and chocolate-covered pretzels (which aren’t bad either). A hip store clerk came back from the dark bowels of storage to report that the one item I lusted after hadn’t been seen since Thanksgiving.
Curses. Why do I have to be counted among the foodie baby boomer masses?
And then there was Crate and Barrel, my old standby, with a big sign proclaiming salty caramel goodness to the world. And nothing underneath. Zip. Nada.
All I wanted for Christmas. Or New Year’s. Heck, I’d even wait for President’s Day as long as there was a guarantee. Or a sale.
So then December 25th rolls around. I managed to scrounge up some salted truffles and locally-made assorted creams as big as my head. But it wasn’t the same.
I resigned myself to cue up with the long lines of frustrated consumers in fruitless pursuit of salty sweet’s holy grail, when my husband hands me a suspiciously square, carefully wrapped offering. As the paper falls away to a Crate and Barrel festive red tin full of — not one — but TWO layers of salty chocolate caramels, I am like a kid in a candy shop.
He’d gotten there in time.
Oh yeah, I’m here to report that a little salt sweetens the kiss.