It’s official: salted caramel has well and truly surpassed the “trend” stage and is thankfully here to stay. We like it mixed into our ice cream, layered in our cakes, smothered on our crepes and in between our macarons. With salted caramel, it’s all about balance; there’s something about the salt flakes immediately contrasting the sweetness of caramel that makes our mouth water and keeps us coming back for more. So we had the terribly difficult (cough) job of searching high and low for Melbourne’s best salted caramel desserts and treats, and we thought we’d share them with you. Sharing is caring after all.
It is a well known fact that Salted Caramel and White Chocolate is Gelato Messina’s most popular flavour both in Sydney and in Melbourne. Always has been, always will be. They use Murray River pink salt flakes for their recipe, which provides a flavour your run-of-the-mill table salt cannot match. The white chocolate chips that pepper the gelato add a nice little crunch to each mouthful, as well as some added sweetness, to make one of Melbourne’s best desserts for those who like to chill.
Any restaurant that has a section of its cocktail menu dedicated to Negronis is more than all right in our book. When one of those Negroni recipes contains salted caramel, that’s what we call hitting the jackpot. Swapping out the traditional gin base with cognac and a dash of caramel liqueur is where the fun begins at Nieuw Amsterdam. The second hit comes in the form of the coffee toffee shard, with one edge dipped in salted caramel.
Burch & Purchese
Home of some of Melbourne’s best desserts, the Burch & Purchese team obviously know their way around some salted caramel, as it features in many of their sweet treats. Our favourite amongst them would have to be the Chocolate, Mandarin, and Salted Caramel individual dessert, comprised of aerated chocolate shortbread, orange and lemon marmalade, mandarin cream, Murray River salted caramel cream and dark chocolate mousse. It’s decorated with a shiny chocolate mirror glaze and a freeze-dried mandarin for good measure. Our other suggestion would be to take home a jar of their famous salted caramel spread. You know, for emergencies.
When it comes to macarons, Adriano Zumbo is undoubtedly Autralia’s go-to chef. His Zumbarons manage to create detailed and unusual flavour combinations without compromising any of the delicate structural integrity. The Salted Butter Caramel On Toast is one such flavour we keep returning to, mainly because it tastes exactly how it sounds—smooth and delicious. In other news, at the time of writing this Zumbo’s Zonut flavour of the week is Salted Caramel Hazelnut Praline, filled with salted caramel hazelnut praline custard and topped with sticky salted caramel and toasted hazelnuts. Get ready to swoon, Melbourne sweet tooths.
While there are a number of Melbourne cafes rolling out some delightful salted caramel milkshakes all over town, we can’t go past the devilish Caramel Pixie from Stagger Lee’s. Their notorious (B.I.G.) Gangster Shakes are deliciously naughty (by nature), but don’t let that stop you. Also, don’t let our terrible puns stop you either, get in there and get amongst the shake of your dreams.
As far as we’re concerned, it’s never too early for a salted caramel dose, and breakfast is the most important meal of the day, after all. Mr Tulk has the answer for early morning sweet tooths, as their banana bread with vanilla whipped ricotta, salted caramel and fresh banana will make sure you get your day off to a great start. Grab yourself a coffee, the paper, and a tidy little nook next to the State Library and you have yourself one leisurely morning.
Myrtles Crepes & Coffee
Myrtles Crepes & Coffee not only serves up some of the best crepes in Melbourne for you savoury crepe fans, they also have a mean salted caramel crepe offering. The salted caramel and strawberry dish is a treat for berry lovers but, if you want our honest opinion, the salted caramel and banana crepe is where it’s at. Also, Baileys Hot Chocolate. Did we mention how great this place is?!
Acland St Cantina
Melbourne dessert lovers, this one can be summarised in a very simple equation: churros + tacos + salted caramel + ice cream = a fantastic flavour explosion. St Kilda’s Acland St Cantina delivers with light, cinnamon-spiced churros, dulce de leche sauce, and salted caramel icecream that’s nothing short of perfection. In case you were wondering, the taco serves as a round flat base to place the ice cream on—we wish you luck devouring this in an elegant fashion.
Matt Forbes’ Yarraville cafe, Cobb Lane, is the home of some exceptional baked goods, and among the most popular of his creations are some of Melbourne’s best doughnuts. These sugar-cinnamon coated fluffy delights are both unforgettable and addictive—considered yourself warned, in the friendliest way possible. Wash it down with one of their salted caramel milkshakes, for good measure. If you have a hankering for one of Forbes’ doughnuts, chances are they’re stocked at a Melbourne cafe near you, no matter where you’re located. There is a solid demand for these golden balls of happiness, and once you sample the goods you’ll understand why.
One of Melbourne’s simplest, but most memorable desserts can be found at this brilliant Mexican establishment, in the form of Helado de maiz. Sweetcorn icecream comes together with salted caramel popcorn at Mamasita. While the salted caramel isn’t overpowering in this dessert, it really adds to the overall flavour, and we keep coming back for more.
Image credit: Thyme of Taste