Saturday, August 4, 2012

Clairesquares is Going to Fry Caramel. Are You Ready?

Claire Keane has always known how to satisfy a sweet tooth. Long before she started Clairesquares, she was baking concoctions made out of shortbread, caramel, and chocolate for her schoolmates in County Cork, Ireland. Now as the driving force behind her own La Cocina business, she sells her rich, buttery squares in 27 Bay Area retail outlets plus two more in Portland and Seattle.

To celebrate Clairesquares' participation in the 2012 San Francisco Street Food Festival, Claire will be making something to please all of you fried food addicts, as well. Using as an inspiration the chip shops of her native Ireland, she will introduce Clairesquares deep fried Caramel Pops at the event presented by La Cocina on August 18th in the Mission District.

Liz and I had a chance to taste the limited edition rejiggering of her caramel and shortbread squares at the festival's media preview dinner last week, and I can only describe the experience as mind-blowing. Crispy and gooey, sweet and hearty, and oh-so-decadent all in the same bite, the treats came with a warning from Claire that eating one fresh from the fryer would probably result in some first aid for the burns to the mouth. The problem was then we had to watch them cool down on a serving plate for a couple agonizing minutes.

The Caramel Pops start with a little ball of caramel, which is then dipped in batter and rolled in crumbs of Clairesquares' famous shortbread. After a short rest to make sure everything stays in one piece, it's off to the deep fat fryer and a finishing drizzle of raspberry syrup. Because of the frying, Claire says that the Pops will unfortunately be limited to special events such as the San Francisco Street Food Festival. That's a shame, as I could have eaten half a dozen of the fried balls and still not be done.

What's next for Clairesquares? Claire says she's always looking to expand the number of retail locations for her squares, and there's talk of reintroducing her oat and chocolate Flapjacks. She also wants to experiment on a partnership with an ice cream retailer, a mashup that we would definitely welcome.

That's the future, though. For now we can't wait to have more of those Caramel Pops. With over 80,000 visitors forecasted to attend the festival, we're thinking that the couple thousand Caramel Pops that Claire has planned will run out very quickly, so get there early!

Clairesquares (@clairesquares)
San Francisco Street Food Festival (@streetfoodsf)
La Cocina (@lacocinasf)

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