Caramel apples came looking for me on the streets late one night. They were pierced with rugged wooden sword-picks and dangerously close to my face, but I didn’t run or scream.
Typically, when accosted with samples, I usually bolt—mostly because I don’t like surprises or changes in my routine. So, if I’m walking down the street, or through a mall, I don’t want things thrown in my face (you know who you are, oh, ye who regularly lurched in tandem, waving anti-wrinkle creams at haggard-looking moms with strollers, circa 2002-2005).
However, Saturday night, the Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks Team was visiting Bellingham, Washington, marveling at all of the quaint restaurants and boutiques—feeling footloose and fancy-free in our tightly fastened pandemic masks—when, bam! A samples-accoster stuck a plate of candied apples in front of us, and I went wild. (Perhaps it was the wine with dinner, though I probably would not refuse wine samples.)
These were no ordinary apples. These apples had caramel swirled inside the flesh of the Granny Smith apples, and I wondered what kind of magic had to happen to get caramel layered INSIDE the apple. So, I followed the samples-accoster inside the Sweet Bellingham store with every intention of shouting: I have a blog! Show me the behind-the-scenes-magic, and I will make you rich! But I chickened out. Also, I was distracted by other apples on display.
However, I did manage to get some “insider information:”
–Ninety-five percent of the caramel/chocolate covered apples is an actual apple. Or maybe just 95% of the apple is covered in chocolate/caramel? In any case, this is what I understood: you mostly get lots of apple taste, with just a hint of chocolate and caramel, which makes the whole thing a kind of sophisticated treat in my opinion.
–The caramel/chocolate apples are not mass-produced, and the way you can tell is by turning the apple upside down to find its tail. (Totally kidding.) Actually, if you turn the Sweet Bellingham apples upside down, you’ll notice an uneven line of chocolate and a generous peek of the apple’s green bottom. That means, each one was lovingly made by hand.
–These apples can keep several days, uncut. (Or maybe it was several hours? See the reference to wine at dinner above.) You must resist the temptation to keep the apples cold in the refrigerator because then, if you go to cut the apples into wedges, the chocolate shatters.
The only thing left to do was buy an entire apple and slice it. Nate, Alex, and I chose a salted caramel apple, and it was amazing. A tiny splash of bitter-sweet chocolate, flecked with sea salt, covers a thin layer of caramel—and the tangy, tart, fresh apple underneath makes each flavor stand out. After just one bite, I wanted shove tooth-picked slices at strangers—I wanted to become the thing I’ve avoided my whole life—knowing that deep down inside, it was just fear that held me back. I wanted to become a samples-accoster—one that’s hopped up on caramel-chocolate-tart-apple vibes, coming at you like a raging carnival of determination.
Your Turn: How often do you turn down samples when offered? Sometimes? Always? Never?