Taste 08.29.19

Elizabeth Elves >> Carousel Candies

People think stirring the pot causes trouble. And in some contexts that may be true. But when you see a guy at Carousel Candies laboring over a copper pot, paddle clutched in both hands, it’s a reason to celebrate.

The sound of popping corn, the aroma of scorching sugar – this is millions of midways, ballbarks, childhoods pouring from a kettle and scooped into a box. Americans first fell for caramel corn in the late 1800s and very quickly paired the treat with what was then the national pastime (the refrain “buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack” still resonates every baseball season).

At Carousel Candies, the caramel brings a pleasant balance of buttery sweetness and that bitter edge to large puffs of popped corn. The kernels take on an appealing, golden brown sheen that is familiar and inviting. Yes, and sticky, too – but that’s part of the charm.

The copper pot is critical here. Copper is valued for its ability to distribute heat evenly, which helps to prevent hot spots that could char the melting syrup, creating harsh barbs. Instead, Carousel’s caramel tenders turn out a rich, mellow and compelling treat.

CAROUSEL CANDIES 31 Wharf 1, Monterey. 646-9801.

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