You know what the medals and award markers that have been appearing on chocolate packaging remind me of? The same medals printed on book covers. While I have read plenty of books with such awards, I have never read a book because it had one; it’s just something I’ll notice afterward, agreeing that the book had been worthy enough for such acknowledgement.
It’s the same with chocolate. I didn’t even read where this award was from (the Los Angeles Chocolate Salon 2011–it’s a Gold for Best Caramels) until after tasting the agave caramels inside the long, slim box. The first time I met Amella Caramels was three years ago, when the quaint and pretty packaging on their dessert-inspired caramels won my affection.
After the designs on those, the plainer, eco look of the new set agave caramels Amella sent me this time was a tad disappointing. This look just doesn’t hold my attention in the same way, though it will certainly attract the consumers seeking chocolate-dipped caramels that are free of gluten and corn syrup, all natural, and made with pure cocoa butter and raw blue agave nectar. The latter item is what replaces the corn syrup.
The first thing to come to mind on tasting was the flavor of a Riesen, and I think that was before I had even registered the caramel beneath the layer of dark chocolate. Yet I would say that the chocolate here, funnily enough, isn’t as dark of flavor. I does, though, melt just like the feeling of silk slipping across your fingertips. Somewhere in the midst of this whole concoction is what I want to call a bitter taste, although that is hardly the right adjective. Since it also seems connected to the sweetness, I want to say it’s the agave nectar. And since there are both agave nectar and sugar in here, the caramels are sweeter than I expected. You could, I suppose, call it a more grown-up sweetness since its basis isn’t of the confectionary sort.
Concerning the caramel itself, it is neither stiff nor liquid, its chewiness is slight, and it has a mild graininess–overall, it has a natural, handmade feel. So though I probably got less excited over these caramels than the colorful ones last time, they’re still quality. They did earn that little medal picture. I wouldn’t quite call them truffle-like (as their description on the box indicates); the experience is still of a caramel, but in perfect cohesion with alluring chocolate to allow you to melt away for a few moments.