What’s a tasty flavoring for a chocolate bonbon?
This is a question Nicole Greene was asked by an instructor when she was a pastry student in New York City three years ago. That very weekend, Ms. Greene planned to go to a Yankees game, where she would order her ritual soft pretzel and a Bud Light. That’s when her flavor idea hit: Beer.
“I realize now it was actually a pivotal moment in my career and in my life,” said Ms. Greene, today the proprietor of Truffle Truffle, an online and wholesale confectioner whose top seller is the “Beer and Pretzel Collection,” which features beer-and-pretzel truffles and caramels, beer marshmallows and beer brittle.
Ms. Greene is one of a growing number of confectioners who have crossed what may be the final frontier in candy flavoring and begun to market candy made with beer. They’ve worked out technical kinks (beer burns at the high temperatures used to make many kinds of candy) and developed a market for sweets they describe as “hoppy,” “malty” and “yeasty.”
It’s all part of a push by specialty chocolatiers to make candy more manly, and to get men to reach for a stout caramel or India Pale Ale bonbon as eagerly as they might grab a nice cold one.
Last month, Vosges Haut Chocolat, a chocolate company with an estimated $23 million in sales, rolled out a “Smoke and Stout Caramel Bar,” made with a beer brewed from dark-roasted malt. Gourmet retailer Dean & DeLuca sells a six pack of Roni-Sue’s black-stout and India Pale Ale caramels for $16.95. Anette’s Chocolate Factory has won industry awards for both its Beer Brittle and Firey Beer Brittle, accented by cayenne pepper.
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