Designation for a sugar that has been heated dry, has solidified on cooling and is then described as "caramelised". For a golden-brown caramel, temperatures of at least 143 to 160 °Celsius are necessary (at even higher temperatures, the contrary bitter sugar couleur is formed). This process must not be confused with the Maillard reaction, but both reactions can occur together. Heating produces a mixture of melted sugar and its oxidised and condensed reaction products. Depending on the degree of roasting, caramel tastes sweet to bitter and has the typical flavour of the maltol also contained in malt. The flavouring substance sotolone is mainly responsible for this. This includes the flavour palette of buttery, chocolaty and roasted (singed), and less frequently smoky and burnt. When lactic (buttery) flavours are involved, one also speaks of cream caramel.
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Diplom-Sommelier, Weinakademiker und Weinberater, Volders (Österreich)