BEER AND BONBONS
By and large, chocolate is predominantly purchased and consumed by women. In an effort to attract more men to the category, chocolatiers across the country have been experimenting with new and innovative ingredients to make the chocolates more appealing. The most successful ingredient? Beer. After working out some of the kinks (beer burns at the high temperatures usually used to make candy), confectioners have been successfully incorporating beer into their tasty treats. And there’s no shortage of unique styles of candy made with beer. For Truffle Truffle, an online and wholesale confectioner, their top seller is the “Beer and Pretzel Collection” which features beer-and-pretzel truffles and caramels, beer marshmallows and beer brittle. Last November, Vosges Haut Chocolat 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. beercandy.com, launched last year by technology entrepreneur Steve Casselman, sells lager caramels, stout taffy and “Hopdrops”, little hard candies flavored with hops.
Behind the new round of male-centric sweets is an attempt to correct a gender-imbalance in the $17.5 billion US chocolate market: 9O% of US women buy chocolate compared to 82% of men, according data from market research firm Mintel Group. A majority of chocolate is likely consumed by women, because women buy more chocolate for themselves than men do, and because men tend to buy chocolate to give to women, said Marcia Mogelonsky, a global food analyst. For the most part, confectioners use craft beers which are typically made with much higher levels of malt than traditional American lagers. Indeed, many brewers use terms such as “aromas of caramel” or flavors of dark chocolate and toffee” and craft brews have names like “caramel porter” or “chocolate stout”. None of the candy contains alcohol which burns off in the cooking process. Beer chocolates contain no more fat or calories than regular chocolate. Sounds like a great gift for Valentine’s Day!