Dulce de Leche is GOOD

Thursday and Friday of last week were, to not put it lightly, consumed by caramel. Thursday was spent standing over a pot of dulce de leche for plus/minus six hours, stirring. Then stirring some more. Then recalibrating the stovetop. Then more stirring. Some tasting. More tasting. Sugar high. Stomachache. Stirring.

Then, around 9 p.m., FINALLY, some results: my dulce de leche caramel sauce, made only from whole milk, sugar, whole vanilla beans and a little baking soda. Relief! My arms: tired.

I don't think I've ever spent so much (hands on) time on a single culinary creation. Then again, quadrupling a recipe does mean quadrupling the amount of time said recipe takes to complete. I hedged my bets, I guess. A glass of red wine helped, too.

Why on earth did I embark on such an epic kitchen journey? For the love of all things GOOD! Well, not good, really, GOOD LA, the launch of the magazine's LA edition and the most recent meeting of the LA Food Swap. I had to impress the masses, of course.

Let's fast forward to Friday. I now have six lovely jars of dulce de leche caramel sauce and a pan full of set caramel candy. And what to do with all of this caramel candy?! Cover it in chocolate, duh. Lots of chocolate.

I used some simple round candy molds to start my chocolate candies with a dulce de leche caramel center, topped with a dot of white chocolate and some gold sugar. Commence with six hours over the kitchen counter! Apparently I like to torture myself.

Fast forward to Friday night: must package candy for tomorrow's LA Food Swap at GOOD LA. Boxes, tissue, ribbon, labels, more labels, chocolate melting onto packaging, cleaning up packaging, apply labels, staple things, fold tissue, tie ribbon. Sit down, finally. Go to sleep....oh wait, I didn't do that. Actually, I went out to a bar to properly dilute my chocolate filled stomach with tiki drinks. GOOD things.

Want to see it all? Read on...

Saturday morning: slightly hungover and packing everything up for GOOD in Atwater Crossing. Which is on the other side of the 5 freeway. Translation: where the hell am I going today? It was actually a very cool spot, a series of modern studios and offices with open air breezeways and a bar. Let me elaborate: open bar = GOOD.

The LA Food Swap had a table inside, ready for some swapping and chatting. It seems everyone transitioned from canned fruits and veggies to sugar this time, I swear. I left with toffee, chocolate sea salt caramels, lemongrass mint syrup, chocolate nonpareils, bacon chocolate chip cookies and brown butter sugar cookies. I mean, really people...apparently they all had the same idea as me. Sugar = yum. I also got to take home some fantastic homemade ciabatta from @breadthinker. The toffee is from @jamsofthenest, the caramels and nonpareils from@fudgeripple. Plus a big thanks for @misschiffonade for securing LA Food Swap's spot at GOOD LA.

I left Saturday afternoon with an amazing bundle of sugary goodness, a little bit less of a hangover and a full belly courtesy of @nomadtruck. I was exhausted and I don't ever want to see dulce de leche again. Unless it's over ice cream, made by someone other than me, and served by a half-naked man who's also presenting me with diamonds. That I can totally deal with.