Carmel or caramel - do you care(amel)? - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Carmel or caramel - do you care(amel)?


A little-known fact about April 4th: it's National Caramel Day. That chewy, sugary  chunk of heaven has its own day.

There seem to be a couple different ways to pronounce caramel. Which way do you say it? Kar-mel or kara-mel? To me, it's all po-tay-toes and po-tah-toes.

Yes, it's true: caramel has its own day. The 4th of April is probably not its birthday, but in the 1850s someone discovered that if you add milk and fat to boiling sugar water it became soft and chewy instead of crunchy.

Milton Hershey started his company with caramel, but it turned out he liked chocolate better so he switched. Caramel fell out of favor, but made a comeback and now has its own day.

But I digress. This is supposed to be all about pronunciation.

At The Sweet Gourmet people ask for caramel all the time.

"How do you say that word?" I asked a customer.

"Car-mel," said Darlene Enloe.

"You say car-mel?" I asked.


"But, check it out. There's another ‘a'," I said holding up a caramel product.

I still say car-mel. That's how I always know it: ‘car-mel,'" she admitted.

"I say ‘car-mel,' but I'm from here in Tyler: born and raised here, and I find that that's the way most people around here say it: carmel," said Pam Gabriel, owner of Sweet Gourmet.

"I say ‘car-mel,' but I'm sure it is caramel," said another customer.

"I say ‘car-mel,' but I am from East Texas," said an employee.

"I say mm-mm good ‘car-mel,' "another employee agreed.

Pam Gabriel thinks it's a regional thing. She says people on the coasts say caramel. gives both pronunciations, and lists "car-mel" as the first way to say it.

Personally I think "kar-a-mel" apple, for instance, just sounds wrong.

If you missed out on a good dose of caramel today, don't worry about it. You have a second chance to celebrate caramel on Caramel Popcorn Day which is on April 6th.

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