Though they were within walking distance of work, I first heard of Fran's salted caramels on NPR - where else? I wasn't sure if they sounded gimmicky or legitimately gourmet, but who really cares if they're delicious? I eventually bought a small package as a present for who-remembers-anymore, and ate them half-at-a-time over the course of a week or so. Supreme deliciousness confirmed.
And now, I think, vague gimmickiness has given way to full Seattle food trend. New ice cream shop Molly Moon's in Wallingford: salted caramel ice cream. New Belltown seafood restaurant Banzino: salted caramel semifreddo (which apparently means semi-frozen, as in half-frozen custard or ice-cream cake).
It could be wonderful to experience this combination as a river of sugary decadence running through the city -- salted caramel barbecue sauce, salted caramel frappuccino -- but my inkling is this flavor is best in moderation. Though the basic pairing of sugar and salt is no shock (hello Chex mix and honey-roasted nuts), this particular execution is almost overwhelming-- hence the rare experience of those four candies lasting a full week.