Saturday, October 11, 2008

Salted Caramel For All

It’s official….salted caramel is now for the masses. As I was walking through the food desert of the L gates in Chicago O’Hare airport, I stumbled upon an unexpected oasis of deliciousness: the Starbucks kiosk offering salted caramel hot chocolate. Yum yum yum! My palate perked up at the thought of that salty goodness swirled in creamy chocolate and caramel- a taste that I had experienced in other niche food products: Bi-Rite Creamery salted caramel ice cream, Recchiutti fleur de sel caramels, and more recently Haagen-Daaz Reserve fleur de sel caramel ice cream- all highly recommended. So of course I eagerly plunked down my $4.24 for the opportunity to experience this complex tango of salt and sweetness.

And to my delight, as I took the lid off to get a better look, the very kind Starbucks barista added an extra sprinkle of sea salt to the top of my whipped cream dolloped hot chocolate. Thank you, kind Starbucks barista at Chicago O’Hare, for greatly enhancing my beverage experience! The first sip was such a treat as the whipped cream, salt crystals, caramel syrup and hot chocolate did a little happy dance in my mouth. I admit it went downhill from here as this concoction was a little conservative on the salt and tasted mostly like standard hot chocolate after the whipped cream, caramel and salt dissolved into homogeneity. But still, it was a welcome diversion from the alternatives in terminal L which included McDonalds, TCBY, and a suspicious hot dog stand. Now if only there was a In-N-Out and Pinkberry…