A self-described “lover of all things Disney,” Mary Jo Collins takes a look at how the Karamell-Küche cast members make a little magic!
Move over Dole Whip and Carrot Cake Cookie, there is a new snack on the block and it has all the buzz of Foodies traveling to Walt Disney World! On September 30th, Epcot opened a new caramel shop in the Germany pavilion, called Karamell-Küche. It’s sponsored by Storck USA, who is the maker of Werther’s Original Caramels. What makes this ooey-gooey location so unique is that it’s the only free-standing, working Werther’s Caramel shop in the world.
Why Will We Find It In Germany?
All caramel items made in the shop contain only Werther’s Original Caramel. The handcrafted caramels date back to 1909 when Gustav Nebel, Storck employee, developed a recipe for a new treat based on a recipe of caramel and creme. They were promptly named Werther’s after the small village of Werther where the confectionery factory was located. The popular German candy is well known for its smooth, buttery taste. As far as the popcorn used in the caramel corn, it is popped daily right in the store. Specifically, mushroom popcorn is used because of its increased surface area, which allows for more caramel to adhere to the kernel.
How It’s Made
Unlike its tri-divided-tin cousin, this caramel corn resonates with freshness. The buttery snack is made fresh every day in front of guests while enticing them with its mellow, sweet smell.
Guests of the shop can watch the actual making of the caramel corn, and one such guest mesmerized by this process was Bernie Edwards of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel. He says that a large slab of Werther’s caramel (12x6x2″) is cut down into the size of marshmallows. Along with butter, the smaller cubes of caramel are melted down in a large pot — this takes around 15 minutes. The popcorn is added to the rich caramel goodness and is stirred carefully for about three minutes.
Bernie described the popcorn at this point as a “huge molten glob” and certainly not ready to eat. The cast member then takes two metal spatulas to start painstakingly separating the popcorn glob and ensuring the coating of all the pieces. The temperature, all the while, is going down. Lastly, the popcorn is further separated by hand after moving it to another tray by the cast member. On the day that Bernie visited the shop, there were two cast members working “full time” to make the treat.
What makes this little concoction even more special is that a small bag ($2.95) is a mere one snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan. And the beauty of this snack is that it can be shared. One bag can easily feed two people, if not more. And if you don’t finish the bag while touring World Showcase, the bag conveniently helps transport the remainder back to your resort. Surprisingly, a few bags that made it home with me this past trip were delicious even a week later, making it a good option for a little gift for someone back home. The larger bags are not included on the Disney Dining Plan, but are still reasonably priced at $5.95.
But Get This!
Here comes the ironic part about this trendy snack from the German pavilion: neither caramel, nor caramel corn was invented in Germany. According to food historians, the act of caramelization, the highest stage of heated sugar, was practiced in the 17th century in France. However, the confection that we know and love as caramel was first developed in the 1880s in North America. In addition, the first caramel corn was also more of an American invention. A German immigrant, Frederick William Rueckheim, and his brother Louis created a mixture of popcorn, molasses and peanuts and sold it at the first Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. It was later coined “Cracker Jack” by an enthusiastic sampler which meant it was of excellent quality.
Regardless of the origin of the chewy, buttery carmel corn, patrons of the Karamell-Küche are going to revel in this simple, yet delicious snack. With free samples given out daily and the display of its creation, Karamell-Küche’s caramel corn will make Germany a World Showcase destination.
Thanks again, Mary Jo! I’m pretty sure the caramel corn is going to taste even better knowing how much hard work (and butter!) goes into it! And thanks to Bernie Edwards from the Disney World Moms Panel for contributing to the piece. We hope you’ll see these two team up on more Disney Food Blog guest author posts soon!