November 28th

theresa albert - my friend in food


Holiday Gifts: Caramel from Grant Street

stacked caramels

Guest Blogger: Hi! My name is Renée and I am passionate about good food.  I also insist on knowing what is in my food and where it comes from.  I made caramels as a treat to take to a friend’s wine and cheese soiree.  I was enjoying the wine and fabulous French cheese.  All of the other guests were stuffing the caramels into their pockets.  The next day my friend received numerous calls/emails asking where to buy the caramels…. Grant St. Caramel Co. was born.



Naturally Sweet

Ever wonder what is in those sweets you can purchase at the convenience store?  What ever happened to old fashion candy made with real ingredients?  You know, the ingredients you can pronounce?

Despite the revolution in eating habits around the world and the renaissance of home-cooking, few people make their own candies.  There are some boutique businesses that make candy with real ingredients and with real passion.  Grant St. Caramel Co. is one of them.  Good food is a passion, and it is even better when topped off with soft caramel with gourmet salt.

So, what is Caramel, anyhow?  How is it different from Toffee?

Caramel and toffee are actually pretty similar and often get confused.  The ingredients and process used to make them is really pretty simple.  Sugar is caramelized by cooking it over direct heat.  The caramelization process burns some of the sweetness out of the sugar and gives it a much more complex flavour.  Additional ingredients are added, and then the candy is again cooked to gain its texture.  Simply put, the higher the temperature it is cooked to, the harder and more brittle the end product will be.

Caramel is a soft and sometimes chewy candy that includes butter and/or other dairy products.

Toffee is made by caramelizing sugar along with butter (and sometimes with flour).   This is a hard candy where the sugar is heated to the ‘hard crack’ stage making the candy hard and brittle.  Toffee is frequently referred to as English toffee.  I’m sure we all remember that toffee that you would smack onto the table to break into small bite-sized pieces that would stick to our teeth.

Despite the fact that this process is simple, it is actually very difficult to make batches of caramel consistent from one to the next.

The Ingredients

The Grant St. Caramel Co soft caramels are made with real ingredients.  The ONLY ingredients used are organic cane sugar, corn syrup (not to be confused with high fructose corn syrup that is frequently seen as a sugar substitute in American soft drinks and other products, this corn syrup is used to prevent crystallization of the sugars), cream, butter, and salt.  The butter and cream are added to give the caramels a long, lingering, rich flavour.


Chefs always talk about balancing the sweet and the salt.  Salt and caramel is also traditional French pairing.  The salt softens the sweetness of the caramel and brings out the longer flavour profile of the butter and cream.  This balance is like fireworks in your mouth.

How else would I serve caramels?

Caramels go well with toppings other than (or in addition to) salt.   Try caramels with:

  • Espresso beans (just put one or two beans onto a piece of caramel)
  • Chopped nuts (pistachios, almond, cashews, or whatever else your heart desires)
  • Cheese plates
  • Chocolate (of course!)
  • S’mores
  • We’ve even had rave reviews of caramels with bacon!

After dinner enjoy your caramels with many styles of dessert wines like:

  • Medeira
  • Port
  • Canadian Ice wine or late harvest dessert wines
  • Sherry

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Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert

I love food, try to watch my weight, know more than I want to about healthy living (sometimes I wish I knew less so I wouldn’t feel so guilty when I stumble), am a daughter, sister, friend, mom and wife who worries and scurries the meals onto the table. It is for all these reasons that I completed my nutrition, RNCP designation, wrote my book, hosted my Food Network show, consult with food companies to urge them to get it right (or at least better), constantly write about it, research it, all of this so I can cut through the nutrition and food “news” clutter. Happy to share with friends!


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