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Ooey Gooey Goodness

December 10, 2012

12 Days of Fatmas

Full Disclosure: Deah was provided the caramels as part of the review.

Excerpt from Good Will Hunting

Skylar: Maybe we could go out for coffee sometime?

Will: Great, or maybe we could go somewhere and just eat a bunch of caramels.

Skylar: What?

Will: When you think about it, it’s just as arbitrary as drinking coffee.

Skylar: [laughs] Okay, sounds good.

Or you could have the best of both worlds and pop one of Nirvana Sweets mocha-flavored caramels into your mouth.

A Taste of Eternity

A taste of eternity

What is it about caramels?  Unlike mint, coconut, or marzipan candies, it is difficult to find someone who does not enjoy the flavor of caramel. Sure, there is that sticking to your teeth thing, but that never stopped me from popping a caramel into my mouth believing with all my might that, “This time I will allow it to just slowly melt in my mouth and not involve my teeth at all.”

Up until this week, I have been a complete failure at this and, much to the dismay of my parents and orthodontist, that included the years I ate caramels with my braces on. This week I volunteered to sample a variety of caramels made by Jennifer (aka Bronwen) of Nirvana Sweets to review them as to whether or not they were worthy of recommending as a gift for the holidays. I know, I know, it was a huge sacrifice to take the assignment, but I am altruistic like that… so I took one for the team (well, quite a bit more than one) and here’s what I found.

I received three flavors: honey caramel, chai honey, and the one I would recommend to Will and Skylar, mocha honey. Now I could just cut to the chase here and tell you that each one of these caramels was amazingly yummy, made of simple, natural ingredients and that there are not enough ooooooooooooo’s in smooooooooooooooth to describe the flavor and texture of these treats. (I didn’t have any teeth sticking incidents at ALL!).  I could stop here and recommend that you order them now as stocking stuffers, mouth stuffers, or belly stuffers, because anyone who gets them is going to LOVE them.  But… if you would like a bit more information here’s a Q&A I had with Jennifer, the Confectioner, who is behind these charismatic caramels.

Nirvana Sweet Chai Caramels

Nirvana Sweets chai caramels

Dr. Deah:  Jennifer, these caramels are totally yummy. The honey ones have a mouthwatering citrusy flavor to them, but I don’t see lemon or other citrus fruit listed in the ingredients.

Jennifer:  The citrus flavor is a quality of the honey. Depending on where the bees got the honey from, and I use the same honey in all of my batches.

Dr. Deah: The mocha honey caramels were so authentically coffee flavored, creamy, smooth, and rich, but not overbearing.

Jennifer: The ingredients in the mocha honey are fair trade cocoa and espresso powder.   The recipe for the mocha honey caramels was the hardest to pin down because so many people like different things in coffee. 🙂

Dr. Deah: Even the chai caramels, which I thought I wouldn’t like at all because I’m not a chai gal, well…if I liked them, no loved them…which I did, then chai folks are going to go crazy! You list the ingredients on the outside of the package and it is hard to believe that you have created such complex flavors from such a small amount of ingredients!  What else can you tell me about the recipes?

Jennifer: I started making candy because I was tired of absolutely *everything* having high fructose corn syrup in it.  I know the corn lobby states that “in moderation” HFCS is okay, but there isn’t “moderation.” After researching existing recipes, I developed my own.  The premium flavors came about by trial and error. I thought a flavor sounded good (like the chocolate), and then went about making batches until I thought I had the best flavor.  Then I’d do a “blind taste test” with my guinea pigs — er friends — of the two or three best recipes, and go with what the majority liked.

Dr. Deah: Could you tell me a little more about prices, packaging, and shipping?  The candies were so fresh and each one looked individually wrapped.  There was nothing “cookie cutter” about these caramels.

Jennifer: The packages I sent you are my standard two ounce packages, which sell for $3.00 for the premium flavors (chocolate, mocha, chai, and apple cider), $2.50 for the plain honey caramels, and $2.75 for the sea salt.  I also sell four ounce packages (at $6.00 for the premium flavors, $5.00 for plain honey, and $5.50 for sea salt), and one pound packages ($24.00, $20.00, and $22.00 respectively). I also do a one pound variety pack that is $24.00. Shipping is extra, of course.

I will ship everywhere, but some places are much more expensive.  Overseas starts at $16.95 for priority mail, so that’s a lot of shipping for candy. I send everything USPS Priority Mail with tracking/confirmation numbers and it takes between 2-4 days to arrive.

Everything is done by hand, including cutting and wrapping, so the pieces aren’t all uniform in size.  Because of that, each package has AT LEAST the weight on it.  There’s never a time I can make a 2 ounce package exactly 2 ounces.  It’s always 2.05 to 2.25 ounces due to non-uniform cutting.

Dr. Deah: You told me that this started when you decided to give some of your homemade candy to friends a few years ago for holiday gifts they loved them so much, they kept asking for more.

Jennifer: Yes, I laughed and said I should charge for them, and they agreed I should go into business doing this.  The rest is history.

Dr. Deah:  So people can order from you on Etsy or via your Facebook Page  is that correct?

Jennifer: I take orders from either place, but the Etsy store is easier for people to shop from, as it has the shopping cart function.

Not enough ooooooo's in smooooooooooooth!

Not enough ooooooo’s in smooooooooooooth!

Happy Holidays Everyone!
Til next time,
Dr. Deah

And don’t forget to order your Amazon gifts through our associate store!

Amazon Link

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 31, 2013 9:20 am

    Mmmmm. Caramel is my absolute favorite sweet flavor.

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