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More from Candy Expo: These Chicagoans have a knack for caramels

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We're not big caramel fans. If we're in a sweet snack mode, we usually turn to chocolate first.

But there are exactly two caramels out there that one should always save stomach space for: Katherine Anne Confections and Das Caramelini.

We first met Katherine Duncan and her little pillows of goodness back in 2006, when she was slinging Potbelly sandwiches while trying to make a go of the confections business. (She's gone and done it -- her products are in Whole Foods, among other places.)

This week at the All Candy Expo, we met Katie Das (below) and her husband, Dhruba, of Das Foods.

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For a decade, the Ukraine native toiled as a food scientist for Kraft and Wrigley before breaking out on her own in 2006. She had been inspired while on a trip to France with her husband; they fell in love with salted caramels given to them at a bed-and-breakfast and the inn's owner shared her recipe, which Das of course couldn't help tweaking.

Funny the career shift -- developing snacks, salad dressings and other foods that require all sorts of funky stabilizers and multisyllabic ingredients you've never heard of, to making caramels made with real butter, real sugar and real cream from local farmers.

It seems the world couldn't get enough of salted caramels last year. And while Das certainly isn't dismissive of trends -- she was at the show to introduce a line of lollipops, including a maple-bacon number -- she says striving for the highest quality trumps the flavor du jour. And that's pretty sweet.

Das caramels are sold at Sam's Wine and Spirits, Provenance, City Olive, the Pleasure Chest (really!) and Chicago's Downtown Farmstand.

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Janet Rausa Fuller

Sun-Times Food editor Janet Rausa Fuller is always thinking about her next meal.

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This page contains a single entry by Janet Rausa Fuller published on May 20, 2009 5:56 PM.

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