Chocolate Caramel Day

The union of chocolate and caramel is arguably one of the greatest flavor combinations ever conceived by man. These two ingredients appear in countless candy bars, ice cream flavors, confections, and desserts.

The History of Caramel
Caramel is an American confection. As early as the seventeenth century, American women were using caramelized sugar and water to make candies. The candy made from caramelized sugar and water was, of course, hard. But the hardness was considered a good thing. It was very inexpensive to produce. It was easily transported, and it wasn't necessary to handle it with care. Best of all, it had a very long shelf life.
Somewhere around 1850, it was discovered that by adding milk and fat products to this cooked sugar mixture, a sweet chewy confection was produced, and it was quickly named 'caramel.' Caramel was an instant hit, and it got more and more popular.
Milton Hershey, the famous chocolate manufacturer, first entered the candymaking business at the Lancaster Caramel Company, which had been started in the late 1800s. It was because of his desire to improve on the caramel candies that he found the German-built machinery to manufacture chocolate.

Hershey's first intention was to cover his caramel candy in chocolate. He did succeed at that, but then he became so fascinated with chocolate that he sold his caramel company for an unheard-of sum of $1 million and used the money to found his chocolate company.

American caramel became a hit worldwide but, sadly, as with many good things, the desire for more and more profits caused manufacturers to decrease the quality of the ingredients. Quality dropped at about the same rate as price. It wasn't long before caramel, which had been a favorite of confectioners, was looked down on and considered a 'cheap' ingredient that was unworthy of use.

In the last couple of decades, some of the smaller manufacturers returned to basics and started using high-quality ingredients in caramel. Caramel has been returned to the good favor (and flavor) of confectioners everywhere.