The original idea behind the caramels given out with the check at Landmarc, the Tribeca bistro Marc Murphy opened in 2004, was that diners would "keep them in their pocket, find them the next day, remember their good dinner, and maybe come back," Murphy says.
Murphy explains that the caramels are special because of "the complexity of flavors that develops." While with most soft caramels, he says, "you think of those caramel and butter flavors," he adds "vanilla bean and honey, which really makes it a special caramel."
Before long, the caramels developed a following of their own. "People kept bothering me," he says with a laugh, "They kept asking, 'When are you going to make these so I can buy them?' "
And finally, this summer, Murphy made that happen. Landmarc teamed up with the (primarily) local food site New York Mouth to sell the famed candies. Each mason jar ($20) contains 30 caramels. New York Mouth is the exclusive source for them until the end of the summer, at which point Murphy will likely make them available through his restaurants and possibly other retailers.
He warns those who will be experiencing them for the first time to "be careful—they're very addictive. It's impossible to eat just one." There is hope though; should sweets fans surround themselves with the caramels for years, they may develop something approaching self control. Murphy himself claims that not only can he stop at a single candy, "I can eat just half of one!"
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