Monday, April 24, 2006

Fran’s Gray Salt Caramels

imageAbout a month ago a friend went to Seattle. Being a good friend she asked me if I wanted anything (knowing it would be a candy request). I told her that several people recommended Fran’s Chocolates, specifically their salt caramels. I even emailed her the locations of their shops to help her find the place.

Well, as luck would have it, she was up there for a panel discussion and one of the hospitality gifts was this package of Gray Salt Caramels ... so they must be famous!

The side of the package heralds them as “Award Winning! Soft butter caramels sprinkled with flavorful gray sea salt harvested off the Brittany Coast.”

I had to do some digging, I saw on their website that the caramels won the 2003 NASFT Outstanding Confection award, but I had no clue what NASFT was. Turns out it’s the The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, so I guess it’s like the Oscars (tm) for fancy food. (The run the fancy food shows in San Francisco, Chicago and New York ... something for me to put on my list o’ things to do.)

The caramels are covered in dark chocolate which helps to highlight the flavors. The caramel is sweet and the chocolate is smooth and creamy and the salt make it all pop. If anything, the salt makes it all taste creamier and richer. The salt itself had a more musky, deep flavor to it than regular table salt (yes, I tried the salt grains alone).


Salted Caramels are all the rage now, I’ve seen quite a few varieties in the past year or so, but I guess Fran’s was one of the first to present them. The large salt grains give a good textural addition besides the obvious salty pop. They’re very satisfying and vibrant on the tongue, but they don’t beg to be eaten over and over again. I had the package for quite a while and didn’t eat them all in one sitting, nor did I want to.

They’re fantastic, but they feel very special. I wouldn’t want a whole box of them, but I’d like a box of Fran’s candy and have a few of these sprinkled in (like this mix).

I’m definitely keen on trying other chocolates in Fran’s line. You can read more about the history of this Seattle Chocolatier on their website.

Kate at Accidental Hedonist also posted about these last week! So at David Lebovitz’s suggestion, I ate the last one upside-down, so that that salt hit my tongue first ... quite intense!

Name: Gray Salt Caramels
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Fran's
Place Purchased: gift
Price: unknown
Size: 2.8 ounces
Calories per ounce: 125
Categories: Chocolate, Caramel, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:55 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. I sent some of the Fran’s chocolate-covered figs to my mother-in-law and she loved them (she also said the packaging was gorgeously elegant). Maybe I’ll have to order some of these for myself!

    Comment by Tricia on 4/24/06 at 9:19 am #
  2. What I forgot to say is that I’ve been experimenting with making homemade caramels (including one with hazelnuts inside and gianduja for the chocolate layer) so this would all be in the name of research, of course! Not mere indulgence. :^)

    Comment by Tricia on 4/24/06 at 9:22 am #
  3. I had my first salt caramel yesterday. It was divine, and my only regret is that I didn’t purchase more of them.

    Comment by g on 4/24/06 at 9:39 am #
  4. Try her hazelnut and almond praline diamonds, they are very good, but also very perishable and hard to find outside the Pacific Northwest. I met her at my local chocolate shop a couple of months ago, very nice lady, and she has a book out too. You should also try the almond or macadamia gold bars, they are to die for.

    Comment by Fazal Majid on 4/24/06 at 9:42 pm #
  5. They look delicious.  I will definately have to try them out.  Thanks for the post.

    Comment by Chocoholic on 4/25/06 at 10:59 am #
  6. I have a Fran’s cookbook and everything I’ve made from it has been divine.

    Comment by Mel on 4/26/06 at 11:57 am #
  7. oooh, just bought some at sur la table and am saving them for this evening. $10 for seven!

    l.a. is great for candy shopping - yesterday i found that french nougat you love too. so exciting!

    Comment by pam on 7/03/06 at 10:34 am #
  8. I’m not a salt fan, so when a friend gave me these I was skeptical (though I thanked him profusely.)  They’re just as you described.

    Another Seattle-based chocolate company I strongly reccomend is Bilettante (which I always feel should be spelled Billetante, but it isn’t.)  I’m not sure how common Costco is in LA, but they only sell them seasonally (chocolate-covered dry fruit.)

    And at Christmas they make crystallized fruits in chocolate.  Not sure HOW, but they’re heavenly.

    Comment by Sophia on 4/22/07 at 3:02 pm #
  9. By the way, yes, Fran’s is famous in Seattle.  You can find them in every air port and organic food store, but never in Safeway.  THAT WOULD BE SIN.

    Comment by Sophia on 4/22/07 at 3:05 pm #
  10. I found an antique candy dish made by fran, it is in excellect condition, does fran still use glass dishes? 
    Thank you

    Comment by Mary Hamel on 5/17/08 at 8:12 am #
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