Here's a romantic Valentine's Day fantasy: You are whisked off for a holiday week in Paris, and on Valentine's Day, your flowers are plucked and presented to you from the sidewalk display of a boutique florist. Then you are taken to a chic candy shop where you can pick out another bouquet -- luscious, hand-crafted caramels in a riot of colors representing various flavors created by the man who first made salted caramel.
For pure, unadulterated caramel flavor, my hands-down favorite is the Denver confectioner Hammond's Candies. The first bite of one of the brand's caramel marshmallows (and the memory of Henri Le Roux caramels from Paris) prompted me to write this item. The all-natural marshmallow beneath truly divine caramel was a pleasantly surprising textural contrast, making this another memorable candy.