Did you ever have an existential conversation about butter? Looking at my notes from a telephone conversation with the candy wonks at Tacoma's Brown & Haley, I think I did have an existential conversation about butter.
"What is the meaning of Roca?" asked Pierson Clair, Brown & Haley's CEO. "Now that the brand is truly Roca and almond, cashew and candy cane are the flavor elements, the meaning of Roca is butter crunch toffee."
Roca, you see, is all about butter.
"Massive," Clair said. "Butter is truly the real carrier of the flavor."
Clair and COO John Melin were proprietarily discrete about how much butter goes into every pound of almond, cashew or candy cane Roca. But Clair said the company uses more than 2 million pounds of "American, salted, West Coast, usually WestFarm, butter, 80 percent milk fat" annually.
"We're very lavish," said Melin, who hails from "a butter family" from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. "Butter gives you the bite. Butter plays a significant factor in the texture."
A crunchy candy that's like butter.
"Butter just makes everything more rich and real," said Gay Landry, who uses butter in her truffles, cakes and pastries at Affairs Bakery and Cafe in University Place. (Landry's two exceptions: Shortening gives her gingersnaps their snap and canola oil gives carrot cake luscious density.)
"It's a sensory issue," she said. "Artificial fats like Crisco have the consistency but they don't have the mouthfeel."
With butter, Landry said, "Everything comes out more flaky, richer, buttery. There really isn't another way to say it."