Bornholm are located on the beautiful isle of Bornholm in the Baltic sea.
In the charming town of Gudhjem, where nostalgia is one of the key words, you will find Karamel Kompagniet. A small shop filled with a buzzing atmosphere and the smell of warm Bornholm toffees!
Here is the story of how the adventure started.
Anna's grandmother is from England - and here is where the story begins.
In idyllic Winchester with its narrow alleys and winding river is one of England’s most magical cities. King Arthur’s Round Table is found there. The earliest English kings are buried in the old cathedral, side by side with the author of Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen. The foundation of the Karamel Kompagniet was laid here many decades ago. Anna’s grandparents lived in London before they moved to Winchester. Anna’s mother was a child during World War II in the. English capital. She can still remember the games they played in the rubble of the collapsed buildings. And the dump blasts from exploding bombs that could be felt even down on the station platforms deep underground, where people sought shelter.
One of the few joys for the little girl was the homemade toffees, her mother - Anna’s grandmother - could conjure up.
When the Knightbridge family moved to Winchester after the war, grandmother’s old book with its toffee recipes - deepened and enhanced with her neat handwriting in the margins – came with them of course. No one in the family knows how old recipes are. Perhaps they reach as far back as 1860 when toffees arrived in England for the first time. Grandmother Knightbridge’s homemade toffees were always one of the highlights for Anna, when as a child she visited her English family. Anna remembers how the sugar mixture was heated over an open fire and how grandmother put a toffee into a glass of water to test whether it was as it should be.
How the family's old cookbook led to Karamel Kompagniet
Karamel Kompagniets's very first caramel was created in a kitchen on Bornholm from grandma Knightsbridge old book of recipes. Anna and Carsten made it to test whether or not they could follow her footsteps. It was a chocolate toffee, slightly sticky, but soft and delicious and with just the right taste of pure craftsmanship, love and history. So good it made them them belief that they could recreate an old English toffee adventure.
Karamel Kompagniet was founded in 2004 when Anna and Carsten opened one of Denmark’s most charming shops on the steep and narrow high street in Denmark’s only mountain town Gudhjem. About 1,000 years ago Gudhjem was one of the most important Viking ports on the Baltic Sea, and exotic items from Istanbul and the Middle East were to be found in Gudhjem. Back then, spices were rare and costly treasures. They still are in the small toffee shop where the shelves are full of ingredients from near and far: cocoa, chili, ginger, sea salt from Læsø, elderflower and many more emitting a fragrance and taste of history and tradition.
The toffee production takes place in the shop behind a glass partition, where visitors are welcome to testify that our toffees are completely handmade. The shop and the small toffee production in Gudhjem is heart of Karamel Kompagniet. Today toffees are distributed in many shops throughout Denmark and Europe. However Anna and Carsten take great care in selecting leading retailers, known for quality and service, and where the toffees and the story fall naturally into the exquisite range.
True craftsmanship - created by passion
Karamel Kompagniet’s toffees are just as delicious and exquisite as a handbag from Hermes or an automatic watch from Switzerland: It’s true craftsmanship, made according to historical traditions, with attention to every detail and marked by passion for quality. Each of Karamel Kompagniet’s toffee is personally made by the skilled Toffee Chief and created in a toffee boiler, made from beautifully hammered copper many decades ago. Each variation of the toffees has been created with care and respect for the fine ingredients. When for example, making the salt toffee exquisite sea salt from Læsø is being added. The salt will not just be mixed in the toffee boiler but will instead be hand whipped into the finished toffee mass. Only then will the toffee chief is able to ensure that salt’s special texture is preserved.
Karamel Kompagniet is among the very few in Europe who produces genuine soft toffees and it has a simple explanation: It is much harder to create soft than hard toffees.
Soft toffee is a vibrant mass that requires considerable experience and careful handling, for just as amazing as they taste, just as delicate and fragile are they in the production phase. Soft toffees are a mixture of science and intuition. You need to know exactly how the chemical composition of the different sugars is. Because soft toffees are so difficult to manufacture, and because they require so much expertise and care, they are a rare delicacy for connoisseurs.
Have fun around the Toffee Shop!
Many greetings Karamel Kompagniet