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Checkout-line Caramels: L. Frances & Vande Welle's Candies

If you've never noticed the caramels in the picture below, you aren't alone. Until I started this candy review site, I don't think I'd noticed these 2 brands of caramels on the checkout counters at both Walgreen's and CVS pharmacies either. They are only $.33 a piece and most people use them as filler when they need to use a coupon and spend a certain amount of money. I decided to try them out and let you know the results.

Checkout Caramels

There are two main brands offered in little cardboard boxes at the checkout counters. L. Frances, which is on the left in the photo above, and Vande Welle's Candies, which is on the right in the photo above. A quick Google search shows that both companies are located in Appleton, Wisconsin. I can't see that the two companies are linked, but that's a strange coincidence. L. Frances has a very plain website, with all the information you'd need, online store, wholesale info. and a contact page. Vande Walle's Candies has a very nice website, you can read about their specialities here.

Both wrappers are giant UPC codes with a small amount of room for company logos. The caramels are both a semi-soft, semi-hard nice and chewy texture. They are definitely not the sweet Brach's Milk Maid caramels most people are probably familiar with. Both caramels were melt-in-your-mouth fantastic and slightly salty. Both caramels were silky smooth, which means both companies know how to make caramels the right way. If you ever make caramels at home and get in a hurry cooking them, you'll end up with a grainy caramel.

I was drawn to the Vande Welle's caramel first. The wax paper, font used for the logo, and darker caramel color immediately drew my attention. Usually a dark caramel color means brown sugar was used, which is a favorite ingredient of mine. I'm not sure if it was used in this caramel or a darker colored corn syrup was used instead, I couldn't really taste a difference, which made me happy. This was also the larger size caramel of the two and I'm a quantity kind of guy. This caramel is nice and creamy with a fantastic chewy caramel texture. It was amazingly smooth and just melted wonderfully on the tongue. This was SugarMama's favorite.

The L. Frances brand caramel has a very plain wrapper and is a lighter caramel color. However, from the very first bite, I was amazed by this caramel. This one was clearly my favorite. It is lightly sweet but has a fantastic buttery caramel flavor. This caramel has a very nice chew to it and was as close to a perfect caramel as I've ever tasted...mmmmm...buttery.

I could not find calorie information or ingredient information on either caramel. I'm assuming the box on the checkout counter has that information on it. These were both 3 for $.99 and I'm giving both of them a "4/5, Really Liked it". You should definitely pick one of each up if you see this on the checkout counter in your stores. It is a great alternative to grabbing a candy bar and will add a little sparkle to your next stop at the drugstore for life's necessities.

Checkout Caramels


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Candy Professor

I've seen these here in NY too; when I'm in northern Wisconsin (near Appleton, actually) I get very fresh, very good local caramels at the checkout of the little stores. So I'm not surprised these WI versions are above-average. Will try on your encouragement!


These are definitely worth a try. At $.33 apiece they do not break the bank either. Thank you for your comments, I do appreciate it.

Candy Professor

So today I had the L. Frances version. Oh, no...it was too good. A little crusty on the outside (sitting around for a few weeks), but fantastic flavor. And there it is, right at the register, just 33 little cents. Sugarpressure, you are leading me down the path of temptation....


I've had the L. Frances caramels and find them the best I've found, though your 4/5 rating for the L. Frances caramel begs the question. What caramel merits a 5/5 rating? I imagine it's probably a freshly-made store brand without national distribution. Hope to find the Vande Welles caramels at some point.

Thanks for the review.


For a 5/5 rating, a candy has to be absolutely perfect. There are very few candies that will get a 5/5 rating from me, but there's nothing wrong with a 4/5 "Really Liked It". I operate on a bell curve, with most of the candy I review getting a 3/5 "Liked It" or a 4/5 "Really Liked It" with only a few candies getting a 5/5 or 1/5, in fact, I don't think I've given a 1/5 yet, several 2/5 though "Did Not Like It".

Glad you found the candy and our site. Please keep reading I always like to read comments, thank you!

Michael Ford

There is a caramel company that will be opening its doors in early 2011 that will have everyone buzzing about their caramels. I know the owners very well and they send caramels all the time. I usually get about 5 boxes at a time and their orange caramel are to die for. If the maker of this website would like to try some of these caramels just let me know through an email correspondence.

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