Everybody and his dog is making caramels or toffee these days; they’re as easy to find as ants at a picnic. But I can tell you that turning out both types of these candies involves some skill, and not everybody is making these sweets as skillfully as Charley’s Organic Toffee. This is a small-scale business; according to their website, candy-making has been done in this family for generations, but it wasn’t until 2011 that they took the plunge and decided to sell their confections. I’m grateful for this decision!
One unusual aspect of this business is that agave nectar (instead of corn syrup or honey) is used to make the caramels. I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not normally a big agave nectar fan. Yes, it’s sweet, but I was brought up on sugar, and agave nectar formulations usually taste flat to me. Not here, however. The caramels, in addition to their agave nectar, contain sea salt crystals, and Organic cream and butter produced locally. There’s a good degree of “chew”, yet they’re not too stiff. The candies are sweet and salty in good balance, and the sought-after caramelized flavor is unquestionably present.
I was also pleased with the toffee from Charley’s Organic Toffee. I tried the Dark Chocolate Toffee with Pecans. It’s a layer of good-quality toffee crowned with a thin layer of equally good dark chocolate, with finely-chopped pecans scattered atop. The toffee isn’t rock-hard, as is too often the case, and there’s a lovely blend of flavors. And did I mention that the chocolate used is Organic, and that there’s a milk chocolate variation as well? And there’s more; if you’re into the combination of chocolate and caramel (and really, why wouldn’t you be?), you can try the Chocolate Caramels or the Betsies (a combination of caramel, chocolate, and pecans).
As you’ve guessed from the name, the confections made by Charley’s Organic Toffee are Certified Organic. Food dyes, preservatives or chemicals are never used, and the candies are all gluten free. The founders support Organic farming and the smaller farmers who are committed to Organic growing methods. They believe that responsible choices made themselves and their food growers make a huge impact for the future of the children on our planet, including Charley — a real girl who happens to suffer from severe psoriasis. For every piece of candy purchased, Charley’s Toffee makes a donation to The National Psoriasis Foundation.
Charley’s Organic Toffee is a young company attempting to make responsible, sustainable choices in their ingredients and packaging. But add to those attempts some darned tasty sweets, and you have a business deserving of your support.