24 August 2012

Napalm in My Mouth

As part of a tradition started a few years ago with one of my best girlfriends; Lauren and I now choose words for birthdays and Christmas. You give the other person a word and she buys gifts that correlate with said word. Past words have included: twisted, peacock, vintage, posh...my word for this birthday was 'spicy'.

Caramels! I loooove caramels.
Lauren did a really great job with 'spicy'. In addition to a book about all the different kinds of peppers found in the world and used for cooking; she also got me the Sriracha Cookbook...and I'm having a Sriracha-themed dinner party next week so look for a post about that soon!

Such interesting flavor combinations. Also...BACON!
The last gift to arrive was a package from Fusion Sweets with a selection of spiced caramels. Awesome. I love caramel, I love spices, I love weird flavors together; this was perfect. In my selection she sent: Coconut Thai Chile, Pumpkin Pie, Masala Chai Spiced Butter, Star Anise Saffron, and Bacon Habanero Sea Salt.

I maintain that messy foods often taste the best
I was super excited and dived right in. I love me some bacon with chocolate so I was curious to see how it went with caramel. When I unwrapped it, I found the candy to be really gooey and sticky. And yes I could see the bacon clearly in the caramel, but I couldn't really taste it. I tasted the habaneros though. A lot.

I did have a few reservations upon smelling the bacon habanero
 After I recovered I went for the star anise saffron. I am not a fan of anise, which you might find odd if you look in my liquor cabinet and see the three bottles of absinthe, but it's never really been a flavor I liked. However I do like saffron, a lot. The anise flavor was pretty strong but the saffron still came through, and even though I don't like anise, I didn't dislike the the caramel.

Here we go!
Moving on! Masala chai spiced butter. I was really looking forward to this because I love Indian spices, I love chai, and I make some of the best darn chai you'll ever drink outside of India. This was lovely. The flavor was far more subtle than I was expecting but quite nice. I only took one-two small bites of each of the caramels since this was an official, scientific tasting, but I can guarantee that I will be unwrapping it again and finishing this one.

Pumpkin pie! Who doesn't love pumpkin pie? It's the only Thanksgiving food (other than Lauren's sweet potato souffle) that I like.I was all prepared to devour this one. But I didn't. Let me tell you why. Because it tasted like pumpkin.

No. Just, no.
I know you're making puzzled face and thinking, But of course! What else would pumpkin pie flavored caramel taste like?! Well...pie! There was a very strong, not unpleasant pumpkin flavor. But nothing of that which makes pumpkin a pie. I couldn't taste any cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, none of that. I'll definitely give it another try but, especially as I'd just had the chai caramel which would have had similar spices, I guess I was just expecting more.

The pumpkin and masala caramels had a firmer texture
And last, but in no way least, Coconut Thai Chile. This was exciting on so many levels. Coconut is one of my absolutely favorite flavors and one of my top three favorite fruits. I love coconut water, coconut milk, young coconut meat, mature coconut meat, coconut flavoring, coconut flavored alcohol, sweet flaked coconut, coconut ice cream, macaroons, I can go on. And on.

Coconut! Thai! Chili! Oh the excitement.
Also I love Thai food and generally I order the spicier dishes. I cannot resist drunken noodles with beef. And we've already discussed how I bow at the alter of Sriracha. So I was really really excited about this. Saved the best for last and all.

Hmm, yes I taste the coconut? Where's the chili?
The scent was heavenly. Mmmmm. Coconut. I sank my teeth into the candy and savored the first bite, knowing that this caramel, this one only, would I eat in its entirety. I rolled the smooth caramel, made a little rough by the wealth of shredded coconut inside, around my mouth to make the luscious coconutty flavor linger as long as possible.

Oh there it is.
Just as I was starting to wonder about the Thai Chili part...I found it. Or rather, it found me. In a big way. If I thought the bacon habanero was hot, I was knocked over by this one. For a milisecond the world seemed suspended and I couldn't breathe, then my face turned bright red, I teared up, and started panting like a dog in an effort to cool off my tongue.

Was it just the surprised punch of the chili that caused such a strong reaction? I was really enjoying it before that spice kicked in. I will try it again and hope that, being forewarned, I will be able to enjoy the entire experience of this particular treat.

Make it stop! *sob* Please just make it stop!
The caramels came with a freebie; a small packet of vanilla sugar. I figured, especially after that Thai chili, that I should definitely have a small taste of the vanilla sugar. I also have to taste this again because I think that all of my taste buds had melted off my tongue.

Vanilla sugar...so...sweetened sugar?
After this would I recommend Fusion Sweets? Actually YES! The flavors are unique and I did really like the masala chai. As much as I love spicy foods I am kind of a spice light weight so who knows what you might think? Order some and find out!

Yeah nothing. My my mouth has been napalmed
Plus I very much want to try some of the berlingots, especially the: basil vanilla lemon, coconut lemongrass, coconut masala (!), spicy strawberry, mango raspberry, guava lemongrass, passionfruit cardamom lime(!)...ok so maybe that was like 90% of the flavors. If anyone wants to send me a belated birthday present in the form of some of the berlingots I won't turn them down!

I also might borrow a few of these flavor combinations for future sorbet and ice cream recipes. There's still plenty of summer left to make those!


Mia said...

Well done, Lauren! Everything on the Fusion Sweets site looks incredible. And this is the funniest photo series ever.

Lauren said...

They're also really affordable and they had more flavors than I could have imagined. I also really like that they use google wallet as opposed to the evil, evil PayPal. Delivery wast fat and easy, and they were so responsive with my questions.