Let’s talk about caramel for a moment. When was the last time you tasted truly delicious, creamy, chewy caramel? If the only caramel that you know are these, then you’ve been deprived of a truly exquisite caramel experience.
Americans began concocting sugary syrups in the 1600s, but chewy caramel candy didn’t emerge until the 18th century. When it did, it quickly became one of the most popular sweets on the market. In fact, Milton Hershey’s first business was the Lancaster Caramel Company!
Caramel is made with just a few simple ingredients like sugar, cream and butter, but it’s the quality of those ingredients that really counts and makes all the difference in the flavor. That’s probably why we’re ga-ga (or goo-goo?) over La Vache Microcreamery’s small-batch scratch-made artisan caramels. This little gem of a creamery based in Charlottesville, Virginia, and its owner, Stephanie Williams strives to use as many local ingredients as possible like honey from Hungry Hill honey and Homestead Creamery’s cream. She knows the owners, their values, and how their animals (or bees) are raised, fed and handled.
Though she’s been a fixture on the local food scene for many years as editor of the now defunct local foods magazine Flavor and as cofounder of the Wine Guild of Charlottesville, Stephanie only started making her caramels in 2014. That same year, La Vache Microcreamery won a Made in Virginia award from Virginia Living magazine and her sweet treats have grown rapidly in popularity since.
La Vache caramels are a simple but exceptional experience. The aroma of lavender, the sweetness of honey, the smoothness of cream and other earthy embellishments combine to create sensational and unique flavors including one inspired by her brewmaster husband called milk stout (and by the way, apparently her first go at the uber-popular fleur de sel flavor was completely transformed when a French chef tasted them and recommended a different kind of salt be used).
We recommend that you stock up now for the holidays because with the popularity of these addictive little morsels, we expect to sell out very quickly. But even if we do run out, La Vache is one of the many exceptional artisan products that The Cookery Shops curate — many from the region — so there’s a good chance you’ll discover something else just as delightful.