December 24, 2010 | 8:09am
We're not ones to typically look a gift horse in the mouth--nor a gift goat, for that matter--but when we discovered the box someone dropped off as an early Christmas present comprised mammal milk-enhanced treats without any cow juice, we were less than eager to dig in.
It's not that we don't love the occasional blob of goat cheese in our salad and some creamy spread for crackers, and we've even been impressed with more than one slice of goat cheese cheesecake, but goat-plus-caramel was a combination we weren't sure would fly.
In this case, it didn't. Sure the nine wrapped squares looked appetizing enough, and the label recognized them as "Paris Caramels" so that added a bit of cred (those Frenchies know their sweets!), but the ingredient listing made us suspect a bit of overpowering may be in store: 15 percent goat milk and 12 percent goat butter were mentioned, along with glucose syrup, sugar, buckwheat, and sorbitol.
We picked up the first caramel with care and immediately noticed the wrapper was oily. Odd. So was the sheen on the bottom of the box. But we ventured on.
Each piece was the expected caramel color, but it had little brown and white hunks like one would expect to find in a half-bitten Oh Henry! bar. In this case, the bits were buckwheat, which, as you may or may not know, is a misnomer since it has no relation to wheat. (As a matter of fact, the box even announces that its contents are "All Natural" and "Gluten Free.") Much to our dismay, we noticed these little nuggets stuck in our molars long after the caramel dissolved and they really didn't add much to the flavor profile.
As for the caramel, it was super chewy and definitely sweet enough, but a bit too gamey for our taste. We agreed this product will never be deemed "crave-worthy" and the oily film it left on our hands and in our mouths could only be cut with a slice of lemon.
Any thoughts of re-gifting to the general public were out the window for fear of us being judged. After all, we have to maintain our reputation as harbingers of good taste... and things that taste good. This gift wouldn't deliver. So as to whom should eat this, we say those poor gluten-intolerant folks who have become accustomed to compromising. They will be so damn grateful to have something with substantial texture that hopefully they won't even notice the missing piece you sampled.