Why salted caramel is one of our favourite chocolate varieties

9 Jun 2023

Chocolate Knowledge

This iconic pairing has earned its place as one of our top choices

Salted caramel: the perfect juxtaposition between salty and sweet. It’s one of those marriages that shouldn’t work but just does. Sweet, velvety layers of caramel, tempered with just the right amount of salty tang – what’s not to love? And, though salted caramel is already a winner, we like to up its prestige that one extra notch by adorning it with rich cacao. Our Salted Caramel Chocolate ticks all the right boxes for when you’re after a little extra indulgence in your life.

Salted caramel is an undeniable winner in our eyes, and we’re here to tell you why.

Salted caramel, chocolate cake, and coffee

Why do people love salted caramel?

Although we couldn’t imagine our Hotel Chocolat shelves to be barren of salted caramel, once upon a time this classic combination was not-so-common. In fact, its proliferation only really began to rise in the last fifty years. Salted caramel was dreamt up by French pastry chef Henri Le Roux in the decade of pot noodles and TV dinners: the 1970s. The seventies were the decade of convenience, but also of inventiveness. Although food nostalgics may sometimes confine the seventies to a corner of processed foods, salted caramel is undeniably a food trend that the decade got right.

Le Roux’s award-winning salted caramel was rich with butter and was served alongside crushed nuts. The effect of salted caramel on the nation was swift. Chocolate lovers were soon won over by this caramel’s salty charm. Its notoriety spread across borders as the Swiss and the Belgians soon realised they too wanted a taste. And by the 1990s, salted caramel was a popular addition to desserts and chocolate treats around the world.

Domestic goddess, Nigella Lawson, wrote of her love affair with the treat. Our chocolatiers have similarly become drawn into its allure, not simply because of its decadence. Salted caramel is incredibly versatile. We adore experimenting with the depth and variety of flavour notes that can arise when pairing salted caramel with chocolate.

A stream of caramel dripping into a pan of caramel

Which chocolate type goes best with salted caramel?

There’s no single definitive pairing which triumphs when it comes to salted caramel and chocolate. It compliments dark, white, and milk chocolate. The choice depends on what particular taste you’re after.

For example, dark chocolate brings a sophisticated flair, boasting decadence. It’s the perfect late-night treat. Our Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Selector encases molten salted caramel in 70% cacao. The result is a harmonious balance between gentle bitter-sweet notes and lavish caramel.

Our chocolatiers strive to think outside the chocolate box when dreaming up their creations. We’ve taken inspiration from the birthplace of salted caramel, transforming it into a patisserie delight. Take our Salted Caramel Brownie for example. This decadent bite combines 40% milk chocolate with buttery salted caramel for a layered experience. Dense praline adds a nutty finish. It’s perfect for a picnic on an idyllic day, or an afternoon pick-me-up alongside a warming drink.

Flavour match-making: what compliments salted caramel?

Wondering how best to enjoy salted caramel and chocolate? Here are some ways to embrace its nuanced flavour profile.

Try salted caramel chocolate-dipped fruit

Chocolate-covered strawberries are an undeniable classic. Add salted caramel to the mix and they’re in a league of their own. Dip fresh strawberries into melted milk, white or dark chocolate and set in the fridge on baking parchment. Once chilled, dip each one into a pot of salted caramel spread.

Alternatively, use our Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate Slab. Melt your slab in a bain-marie, and dip your strawberries right in for a fast and opulent treat.

Another way to experience the joy of salted caramel and fruit is to involve our enrobed fruits. These delights come bursting with fresh flavours, and each one makes for a unique tasting experience. Our Double Chocolate Cherries are double-layered with milk and dark, ready for a third layer of caramel to dunk into. The red forest fruits pair exceptionally well with the richness of gooey caramel.

Strawberries next to a bowl of chocolate

Dunk your favourite biscuit in salted caramel hot chocolate

Salted caramel hot chocolate? Yes. Buttery, crisp biscuits? Yes. Combine the two? You’ve created something magical.

The right dunking biscuit should have enough crunch to it to hold its shape when dunked, but not too dense to allow all the complex notes of hot cacao to seep in. Our Dunking Biscuits are just the right shape for dipping into a creamy hot chocolate. And, because we like to do things a little differently, each one owns its own flavour profile. Chocolate & Sour Cherry, packed with chewy bursts of dried cherry. Orange, Pistachio & Cardamom, subtly spiced for the flavours of the Mediterranean. Cinnamon, Almond and cacao for gentle warming flavours. Pecan Pie owns toasted undertones. And, of course, the classic Chocolate. Ten biscuits, five flavours, endless tasting experiences.

It’s also worth considering your choice of hot chocolate. Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate should be rich in caramel flavour, without overpowering the complex notes of cacao. We make ours from flakes of real grated chocolate. More cacao, less sugar makes for a warming drink which is flavourful, but never too much. For the smoothest results, pair with The Velvetiser.

Celebrate with Salted Caramel Vodka in your hot chocolate

For an adult edge, add a measure of Salted Caramel Vodka to your hot chocolate. Ours is made by infusing our vodka with malty flavours of cacao and then combining it with salted caramel. The perfect way to say cheers.

Explore the Hotel Chocolat salted caramel collection

One of our favourite things about salted caramel is that it’s the gift that keeps on giving. The creative minds behind our recipes are constantly searching for flavour combinations that are about more than just the taste. Each recipe will transport you to a place of tranquillity. Our Salted Espresso Martini evokes the shake of a Mixologist’s cocktail shaker and the clink of ice against glass — all in a smooth, cacao-rich bite. Meanwhile, our Salted Caramel Clementine Hot Chocolate conjures up pictures of a cosy night in.

Our Salted Caramel Collection is one of our all-time favourites and we hope it’s yours, too.