With Valentine's Day just around the corner, most of us are looking for the perfect present for a partner or pal. JulieAnn Caramels, a locally owned and operated candy shop, has your back. Founded in 2014, the company creates candies, ice cream sauce and other confections with the finest, freshest ingredients.
"What makes it so different is that it has real butter and cream in it. It's almost like eating ice cream," owner and founder Rowena Montoya says. "I think that's why people love the caramel sauces so much; they're just a great complement."
JulieAnn Caramels is named after two of Montoya's aunts who raised her and taught her to cook. Every batch is hand-stirred to guarantee quality and great flavor. With 7-15 employees depending on the time of year, the shop's small-batch offerings include individually wrapped caramels, ice cream sauce, caramel pretzels, caramel s'mores and Rice Krispies treats.
"We sandwich the caramel right in between the [treats], and we're really generous so it gives it a lot of nice flavor and texture," Montoya says. The treats are then dipped in a mixture of dark and milk chocolate. They come in flavors like raspberry, coconut and sea salt, with additional seasonal flavors.
JulieAnn Caramel products can be found at local grocery stores, including Harmons, or ordered online. Customers can purchase gift baskets for that special someone, or as a corporate gift to honor clients or extraordinary employees. Individually wrapped caramels come in almond, strawberry, coconut, berry, lemon, mango habanero, maple bacon and more.
"I love creating different caramels," Montoya says. "I love working with chefs, asking what's trending, figuring out what might be a good caramel." The company also turns to their fans for suggestions. Recently they staged a contest to find out what flavors people wanted for JulieAnn's next speciality caramel. The winner? "Tahitian Treat"—a pineapple, coconut and mango creation.
They also offer seasonal and specialty flavors. "Valentine's means a lot of cinnamon caramels, chocolate and very berry," Montoya says. Very berry is blueberry, raspberry and strawberry, and customers love it.
"People are enthusiastic about our product," she says. "We love what we do, we love creating something new in the candy industry." Their pineapple habanero caramel recently won a "Sofi" award for Outstanding New Product from the Specialty Food Association, and the company plans to compete for more honors.
Montoya says if you haven't tried one of her treats yet, you don't know what you're missing. "They're caramels for grown-ups."
Monday-Friday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.