Wine enthusiasts often use the French term ‘terroir’ to describe the unique effect that geography, geology and climate have on wine. There’s no doubt in my mind that the beautiful and serene Santa Fe mountains impart their own unique terrior-like effects on C.G. Higgins’s creations. Even Chuck Higgins himself, the food artisan behind the boutique chocolatier and candymaker C.G. Higgins, credits Santa Fe's elevation at 7,000 feet above sea level as ideal for making and packaging the brittle without it absorbing humidity. Not knowing much about the careful science of candymaking, I just filed this little fact away until I tasted Chuck’s famous brittle. It’s amazing. I was already a die-hard fan when a new box of brittle arrived on my desk and I opened the lid to a warm, golden glow. It’s as if it was filled with pure gold. I’m pretty sure the smile on my face wouldn’t have been any bigger even if it had been filled with gold.
We’re thrilled at Foodiacs to be able to offer you two of our favorite C.G. Higgins products—his award-winning Pecan Brittle and unique Caramel Corn. You’ll receive an 8 oz. bag of Old Fashioned Caramel Corn and a 12 oz. jar of Butter Pecan Brittle, or for those who love a little heat with their sweet, you can choose the Chile Caramel Corn and Chile Pecan Brittle option. Our hand-picked panel of Foodiacs taste testers had this to say about the Pecan Brittle:
“The best brittle I’ve ever tasted in my life, hands down!”
“The brittle has the perfect amount of crunch that just melts in your mouth after the first bite.”
Handmade in copper kettles and then hand-stretched by Chuck himself, one of my favorite things about C.G. Higgins’s brittle and caramel corn is that you will recognize and can pronounce all of the ingredients. There’s absolutely nothing artificial added. The one delightfully surprising ingredient in both the brittle and caramel corn is a touch of rosemary oil, a natural anti-oxidant, to help keep them fresh a little longer.
C.G. Higgins’s caramel corn is cooked in small batches in copper kettles with fresh popcorn made right there in the kitchen. Chuck generously offered to give me a tour of his kitchen last fall and I was thrilled to get a chance to see where the magic happens. Chuck has managed to turn caramel corn into an art form, and you will never find another caramel corn that tastes like this anywhere else. Our taste testers has this to say:
“It’s fluffy and crunchy, and has so much flavor.”
“Loved being able to actually taste the chile, instead of just feeling the heat."
For those of you interested in the brittle and caramel corn with chile, you should know that C.G. Higgins uses a combination of local New Mexican red and green chile to add a new dimension to their flavor, not just heat for the sake of heat. The red chile hails from the Isleta Indian Pueblo, just south of Albuquerque and features a well-rounded chile flavor. Combined with the green chile, the depth and combination of chile flavors are a bright finish to the caramel corn experience. Last year, the Chile Pecan Brittle was awarded the coveted Scovie Award and commended for having high concentrations of chile flavor without too much punishing heat. And if you can’t choose which one to order, get both!
For more information about C.G. Higgins visit www.cghiggins.com and be sure to check out the clip on the home page of Pat and Gina Neely’s visit to the C.G. Higgins shop and kitchen from their show Road Tasted on the Food Network. You’ll even get a chance to see them make a batch of Chile Pecan Brittle with Chuck.