Sharing our caramel with friends and family is sweet fun. We’ve created this fun caramel tasting guide to help you plan and host a delicious caramel tasting party. Gather with those who love caramel as much as you do. Get to know your palate and discover the caramels that you love.
Here’s What You Need to Get Started
Tasting Mat and Tasting Notes
Pen or pencil for each guest
One piece of each of our nine flavors from our Flavor Family box of caramels arranged on the Tasting Mat
Cool water to cleanse your palate between tastings
Four Easy Steps
Arrange the wrapped caramel on a tasting mat or plate. Start with the most traditional of flavors and work your way up to the most unexpected. This allows you to appreciate the subtler flavors before introducing your palate to the more intense flavor combinations.
Use your Senses. Fully appreciate the intricacies of each caramel flavor using sight, smell, touch and, finally, taste.
Compare and discuss. Make notes about what you enjoyed about each caramel. Take note of your favorites. Share your thoughts with the other guests.
Cleanse your plate. Take a sip of water between flavors so that you can enjoy each caramel on its own merits.
How to Taste Caramel
Like tasting wine, there are many things to pay attention to when you taste caramel. Here are some notes to guide you. The most important thing is the enjoy the process!
First look at the caramel and assess its color. Consider its texture. Contemplate the properties unique to each caramel. For example, can you see the dark grains of salt in the Black Lava Sea Salt caramel?
Hold the caramel in front of your nose and inhale. What are the aromas? Is it nutty? Buttery? Salty? Chocolaty?
Take a bite of the caramel. Roll it around your tongue and press it to the roof of your mouth. Start chewing and evaluate the mouthfeel. Is it smooth? Does it have a bite? Is it chewy or is it soft?
Next look for the different flavor notes of each caramel. Pay attention to the hints of flavors and how long they last. Be aware of how the flavors develop and change in the mouth as time passes. For example, which do you taste first in our Rosemary Truffle Sea Salt…the herb or the mushroom?
Swallow the caramel and evaluate its finish. What flavors remain in your mouth? How long do they linger?
Fun Tasting Tidbits
Tasting is different from eating. When you taste, you slow down, pay attention, and savor the food in a structured fashion, evaluating a food’s appearance, aroma, flavor, texture, and finish.
Did you know? McCrea’s contains only real-food ingredients. We start with fresh rosemary and steep it in cream. We juice fresh ginger and use organic New England maple syrup. See if you can taste these ingredients
Try our salted caramels back to back. The Black Lava Sea Salt contains a coarse-grain salt giving you crunchy pops of salt while the Cape Cod Sea Salt uses a flakier salt that dissolves in the cooking process. Can you see and taste the difference?
Compare and contrast the Deep Chocolate caramel with the Dark Roasted Mocha. Can you detect the addition of coffee?
We recommend letting our Single Malt Scotch caramel warm up in our mouth before you chew it so that it fully opens up, allowing you to experience the rich, peaty flavor of the Ardmore Scotch.
For a fun and unique taste experience try twisting two caramel together. Create your own flavor(s).
In Japan, ginger is used to cleanse the palate between courses. Savor this zesty caramel at the end of your tasting experience to leave your palate refreshed.
Want to kick your party up a notch? Add another dimension to the taste experience? Try our caramels with wine, beer and/or spirits. We’ve put together the ultimate pairings menu to get you started. However, feel free to experiment and mix it up a bit. Try different combinations; find out what you like best.
Classic Vanilla: Pair this with a lightly oaked Chardonnay or semi-sweet sparkling wine. This most traditional of caramels also goes well with a lighter Pinot Noir.
Tapped Maple: We love this sweet caramel with a rich, warm craft Bourbon.
Cape Cod Sea Salt: This salted caramel goes best with a Sancerre or any white with a bit of minerality to it.
Black Lava Sea Salt: Try it with a dry sparkling sweet sherry. Our personal favorite pairing is a dry, sparkling Rose. Savor the bubbles as they play off the caramel’s pops of salt.
Deep Chocolate: Pairs beautifully with a Tawny Port or a Cabernet with softer tannins.
Dark Roasted Mocha: Pair this rich caramel with a Madeira. This smooth, creamy and slightly sweet wines bring out the bold mocha flavor.
Single Malt Scotch: Enjoy it with Ardmore whisky, of course. For an out-of-this-world treat, freeze this spirited caramel and replace the ice cubes in your glass of whisky. Mmmm….
Rosemary Truffle Sea Salt: This caramel is fantastic with a Sangiovese or any hearty Italian red.
Ginger Fusion: We recommend pairing with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, or a sweeter wine like a Riesling or a Moscato. The apple and tree fruit notes of these wines bring out the zing of the caramel’s fresh ginger.
Classic Vanilla: This caramel pairs nicely with the sweet caramel notes and smooth finish of an Amber Ale.
Tapped Maple: Try this caramel with a Pilsner and watch as the hops aroma and bitterness of the beer balance the sweetness of the maple.
Cape Cod Sea Salt: The sea salt of the caramel pairs well with the light fruitiness that comes from a Fruit Beer or Summer Ale.
Black Lava Sea Salt: The malty sweetness and hoppy bitterness of a Pale Ale work well with the exotic salt.
Deep Chocolate: The increased maltiness of an IPA enhances the flavor of bold sweet desserts and goes especially well with our chocolate caramel.
Dark Roasted Mocha: The prevalent chocolate and coffee flavors of a Stout make this the perfect pairing.
Single Malt Scotch: This rich, spirited caramel is best complimented by a Cream Ale with its malty sweetness and balanced bitterness.
Rosemary Truffle Sea Salt: The intense aromatics of the rosemary and truffle are lovely with a refreshing Hefeweizen and its clove aromas.
Ginger Fusion: The refreshing and thirst-quenching qualities of a Lager match up well with Asian spices like the ginger in this zesty caramel.