Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Visit to Velatis

Though it opened some time ago, for whatever reason until last week I had never made it into the Velatis Caramels store near the corner of Wayne and Georgia avenues.

When I first learned a few months back that a caramel store was opening in downtown Silver Spring, it was unexpected yet welcome news. Mostly I was just happy that that this long-abandoned building with trees growing inside of it finally had a tenant. It was shameful that this structure was allowed to sit and rot in the center of a "revitalized" Silver Spring for so damn long.





I also immediately wondered if a high-end store in that location could get enough walk-in business to succeed long term. It would seem, however, that they generate a lot of their business via mail-order, making them less vulnerable to the tastes/finances of the Silver Spring consumer. Perhaps the retail store in Silver Spring (where they moved production) was a means to increase visibility while supplementing their mail-order revenue with retail sales.

Anyways, with a few non-snow days off last week, I decided to finally venture into Velatis and sample their caramels. Even before I walked through the door, I got a big whiff of the pleasant aroma of baking confections. Inside, a majority of the floor space is dedicated to candy-making operation, with a small retail space at the front of the store. Velatis not only makes caramels, but also sells a variety of truffles, fudges and other sweets. I will sample those on future visits - this trip was strictly for caramels.

They sell perhaps ten or so flavors of caramels, including ones that are essentially little caramel and marshmallow sandwiches. You can purchase different sized boxes of caramels and can mix and match a variety of your preferred flavors.

The box of caramels pictured below set me back $17.99 plus tax, so as far as candies go they aren't cheap, but at the same time, a similarly-sized box of Godiva chocolate will probably cost about the same or more. It would certainly makes a nice gift. The only problem is that the tiny size of the caramels makes them too easy to eat a handful as if they were popcorn.



Admittedly, my experience with caramels does not extend far beyond the occasional pack of Rolos, so it's a bit hard for me to benchmark their quality, but I will say that their merchandise is indeed quite tasty. I definitely would recommend those with a sweet tooth giving Velatis a try.

Here's a few more photos from inside the store:

Caramels...





...and truffles.





(For whatever reason, I neglected to take photos of the fudge.)



11 comments:

Steve said...

Good to see a new post, it had been a while since the last and we were starting to wonder whether you survived the big snow.
Anyhow back to Velatis - did you get any sense of how they're doing? It would seem that they opened at a very tough time for a small business to make a go of it, what with the recent weather contributing to a lack of foot traffic. And I'm not sure that caramels are something people are going to rush out and buy in a recession. I hope they do survive, but I am concerned that there just won't be the traffic to sustain a store on Georgia Avenue.
Btw, I spoke with someone at Joe's Record Paradise the other day who said they do plan on opening later this week IF they pass their final inspection.

Anonymous said...

An old DC favorite and one of my earliest memories! Whenever out of town family came back to visit, there was a box of Velatis waiting for them to enjoy. I'm now a senior citizen, but the memories are wonderful and I hope they do well. Their caramels were unique.

Ed said...

Drove by the other day to check it out but couldn't get parking. Will try when snow melts. Looking forward to tasting the caramel. Nice to have these kinds of stores when another pawn shop or cellphone place could have materialized.

Springvale Roader said...

Though I won't eat Velatis' stuff, I love the smell inside the store and would buy a caramel-scented candle if they sold one.

Imagine spending the night inhaling that sweet smell.

Messiah said...

I just went for the first time this weekend as well. Did you know ahead of time that it would be $18 for a 1/2-pound box? I was a little -- I think they had mail-order prices up, and they were much cheaper ($11 maybe), maybe because those are pre-packaged and only one flavor? I thought they were very tasty, but a little too hard-as-a-rock. I thought freshly-made caramels would've been softer. But like you, I have nothing to compare it with.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

Oooh, I didn't realize they were open yet. I haven't had a Velatis caramel in years. Must get up there asap. mmmmm

Charles said...

Do they have caramels covered in chocolate and dusted with sea salt?

socoblogboy said...

Charles - try the Sea Salt Turtles. They are good! But be warned, they are $3 a pop.

Anonymous said...

There are vanilla chewy caramels with sea salt that are wonderful...btw, the store has just started staying open later on Thursday and Friday - 'til 8:00...

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