Susanne McBride admits she’s not much of a cook, but when it comes to caramels, she’s a regular Mary See. A micro-confectioner, if you will, one batch at a time.
While not an expert in the kitchen, making caramels is what she could do and her friends and family agreed. McBride, along with her daughter Kate Brown and their combined families, are owners of Sweets of Eden, Homemade Caramels and More, a business they began in 2016. McBride began making the creamy treats 30 years ago after remembering her mother’s caramels, a family recipe that was lost a decade before. She found a new recipe, and while not exactly the same as her mother’s, it was a hit and brought back fond memories.
The caramels are all made by hand, slow cooked, small batch and individually wrapped. Currently they are being sold at pop-up locations at festivals and fairs in Monterey County as well as Downtown Gift Shop in Oldtown Salinas. Making up to 20 pounds per week and recently permitted to sell wholesale, they are in the process of creating packages for local stores throughout Monterey County, with a different flavor featured monthly.
Starting with vanilla caramels, they soon expanded and now produce up to more than 15 flavors seasonally, including sea salt, apple pie, coffee, pumpkin, peppermint, raspberry, root beer, green apple, orange creamsicle, passionfruit, lemon, cinnamon and licorice. All are gluten and dye-free. The family is testing out several new flavors, such as bacon caramel, a hot spicy caramel and sugar-free and never lack for volunteers for the taste testing. The maker’s favorite? McBride says, “The last batch made is always the favorite until the next batch is made.” McBride is a third-generation Monterey County resident — her family has been in the area since the 1870s. Both McBride and Brown have full-time jobs, but love to step into the kitchen and stir the pot. As for how the name of the company was created, well, it just made sense. “We are surrounded by Steinbeck and it clicked. There is a sweet history here and we are going to include it.”
So far the only way to get the caramels is at one of the pop-ups, at select stores and by contacting the family direct.
About Sweets of Eden:
The grandkids are 6th generation Monterey County. Family history dates back to the late 1870’s, long before it was Steinbeck Country. Perhaps a chapter in the Long Valley was about our family….perhaps.
After many years of making caramels, and with the help and support of their husbands and kids, They decided go “BIG”! Big for them anyway. You can find them at local fairs and Farmers Markets. In the meantime follow them on IG and FB. They will keep you posted on new flavors and locations.