A CHOCOLATE PRODUCER WITH a difference, the American company VOSGES makes highly original flavoured chocolate bars. Bacon, ginger and wasabi (which is a kind of Japanese horseradish) are only some of the ingredients you might find in their bars. Although we usually specialize in single-origin chocolate without added flavours here at THE CHOCOLATE REVOLUTION, this producer is wacky - and brilliant - enough to deserve a mention. They also produce truffles and ice cream.
VOSGES chocolate can only be found in the US, and is sold in branches of Whole Foods, upmarket department stores, as well as in seven boutiques in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas, details of which can be found here. It can also be ordered online from the VOSGES website (see below).
THE CHOCOLATE BARS
MO'S BACON BAR 41%
This highly original flavoured milk chocolate bar contains Applewood-smoked bacon, as well as smoked salt. It takes the whole salt-and-chocolate flavour combination to a whole new level. Not only the flavours of the dark milk chocolate, the bacon and the salt work well together, but so do their textures. Get your dinner party guests to try and guess the ingredients.
BLACK PEARL BAR 55%
Pleasing, but slightly less exciting than MO'S BACON BAR
above, this chocolate contains ginger, black sesame seeds and wasabi (which is a strong Japanese horseradish). Perhaps because those who know wasabi will expect a striking tasting experience from this bar, it is a little disappointing that all of the added flavours remain quite subtle. Nevertheless this bar is pleasing, with very satisfying and unusual texture due to the sesame seeds and a lingering sensation of ginger and wasabi in the finish and aftertaste.
GOJI BAR 41%
This excellent and creative bar fuses sweet (but not too sweet) Himalayan Goji berries with pink salt in an extremely well-balanced dark milk chocolate. The textures work brilliantly together, and the salt comes to the fore in the finish.
An original bar, this chocolate combines cardamom, plums and walnuts, which work well together as flavours. The textures however are less compatible than in other VOSGES
bars, and the low percentage (for a non-milk bar) means that the chocolate lacks the intensity necessary to match the other ingredients.
Another very original creation from VOSGES
, this dark milk bar combines curry powder and coconut. The former provides much of the foreground flavours and the latter forms the backdrop, takes the edge off the curry, and contributes to the varied texture of this bar. Works well.
The ingredients of this dark milk bar - hemp seeds, salt, macadamia nuts and coconut - work very well together, both in terms of their flavours and textures. And it is because of the differences in texture that the flavours arrive at different times: salt strikes first, followed by the macadamia and hemp, and then the coconut. A very pleasing experience.
This dark milk bar combines hickory-smoked almonds and sea salt. The latter is more dominant, and comes through after the initial sweetness of the milk chocolate. The smokiness of the almonds makes it into the sweet warm aftertaste. This bar is reminiscent of the bacon bar, but not quite as interesting, though still very pleasant.
RED FIRE BAR 55%
The cinnamon in this bar gives it a Christmas aroma even before the first piece enters the mouth. When tasted the cinnamon is joined by coffee notes and, towards the end, a kick from the ancho and chipotle chilies which give the bar its name. A very well executed example of the now quite common chili & chocolate combination.
ENCHANTED MUSHROOMS 66%
This bar, from the VOSGES organic
range contains Reishi mushrooms and walnuts. Despite its evocative name, we found this bar to be less exciting than most other VOSGES
products, with the mushroom taste remaining subtle and the bar too sweet.
There are a number of other interesting flavoured bars by VOSGES, including Macha (with macha green tea), and d'Oliva (Kalamata olives and white chocolate) among others.