The New York Times - February 5, 2013

Chocolate Caramels Worthy of Your Sweetheart

Published: February 5, 2013

More and more of the country’s finest artisanal chocolate markers are producing caramels. So which ones should you give your Valentine? To find the 10 best American small-batch, chocolate-covered salted caramels, the Dining section held a blind tasting. Julia Moskin, Florence Fabricant and I sampled 27 candies, alongside Karen DeMasco, the pastry chef at Locanda Verde in Manhattan, and Michael Laiskonis, the creative director of the Institute of Culinary Education. — MELISSA CLARK

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.

Glossy and Assertive


The shiny, ultra-thin domed shell barely contains the burnt-sugar-flavored, delicately textured caramel within.

Highly Refined

L’atelier du Chocolat

This ultra-creamy caramel has a bare hint of sugar and is studded with crunchy crystals of flaky salt. Perfect for those who love savory more than sweet.

Small and Sleek

EH Chocolatier

“Great synergy between dark chocolate and caramel,” wrote Michael Laiskonis in his notes. This diminutive dome contains a nicely runny caramel with undertones of brown butter.

Creamy and Classic


The only milk-chocolate-coated bonbons to make the cut, these stand out for their restraint. They are not too sweet, not too salty, and walk the line between chewy and soft.

Downright Sexy

William Dean

The gently flavored, just salty enough caramel erupts from its wafer-like shell in the best possible way. The caramel is on the sweeter side, without crossing the line into cloying.

Intense and Bittersweet


Mildly salted on the inside and not on top, these buttery confections are for lovers of high-cacao-percentage chocolates. “Elegant, bitter,” as Julia Moskin succinctly put it.

Dark and Salty


These tiny mouthfuls have the silkiest of chocolate shells, filled with a liquid dark caramel and just enough salt.

Brawny and Straightforward

Jean-Marie Auboine

These chocolate squares are larger and more substantial than most (“Beefy,” as Florence Fabricant said), with an extremely soft, mild caramel center held in place by a dense chocolate coating.

Robust and Rustic


Meant to be eaten in one bite, this bittersweet caramel has a syrupy center that flows freely and lusciously once you crack the rather sturdy chocolate shell.