Nigella Lawson’s love of salted caramel is heady and passionate. We at Artisan du Chocolat have to take a small amount of responsibility and pride for introducing her and the rest of our customers to our salted caramels originally created for Gordon Ramsay at Claridges: a sweet liquid caramel with a pinch of Noirmoutier island’s grey salt captured in a cocoa dusted shell of intense dark chocolate. The pure untreated grey salt, harvested by hand from clay marshes, holds a wealth of minerals and trace elements that enrich its taste. It is the balance of flavours – sweet, saline and mineral – and of textures – crunchy, liquid and velvety – that make these salted caramels our most famous creation and such a bestseller.
The trend for salted caramel is still raging, having percolated from our atelier to other chocolatiers and eventually to sweet sections of multiple retailers. Whilst we are flattered to have ignited this love for all things salted caramel in Britain, we have to give credit due to its birth place, Brittany. Breton Kouign Amann names a round crusty cake layered with salted butter and sugar baked to puff up the dough and caramelise the sugar. This heart- attack- in-a-cake sparked the wide use of salted butter in Breton pastry and confections. To balance the sweetness of the caramel and chocolate for our truffles, we chose unsalted butter and added grey unrefined salt. A decade on, our original liquid salted are still the bees’ knees.
To be a salted caramel God or Goddess, splash our sauce, the dinner party best kept secret, on any humble dessert to make it magnanimous. Or serve some of our festive spiced figs salted caramels. In Nigella’s own words: