Archive for the 'Vosges' Category

Vosges Flying Chocolate Pig

April 21st, 2008 by Rosa

When I was in Chicago over spring break, I stopped by a Vosges boutique because even though I can’t really afford their products on my college student budget, holy cow are their truffles gooooood. Plus I got permission from my residential college master to pick up another bacon bar for our next tasting. I also got a Calindia Bar because I hadn’t seen that one at Whole Foods or at the Las Vegas Vosges I visited.

Speaking of the Las Vegas Vosges, I liked the Chicago one much better because they had free samples placed out all over the place. And, after I paid for the two bars I picked out, the saleslady slipped me a little plastic bag of four truffles. I promise, I did not breathe one word of my candy blogging hobby to ingratiate myself with her, though I did ask lots of questions and probably sounded fairly knowledgeable about their line. The truffle freebies were probably near their best-by date, but still, it was a nice and much appreciated gesture.

Another nice Vosges surprise was waiting for me when I got back from break – a press kit containing a library of their mini bars (I already have a set, so I gave those to my suitemates), a box of 9 of their exotic truffles (review to come Wednesday), and a flying chocolate pig made of their bacon chocolate.


I liked the flying chocolate pig better than their standard Bacon Bar not only because it’s much cuter but also because I’m convinced it actually tastes better. It’s also more expensive though, and it weighs only 1.2 oz. as compared to the 3.0 oz bar.

I found the flavor of bacon to be much stronger in the pig. It certainly smelled stronger. In the case of the pig, the bits of bacon were meatier and chewier than those of the bar, which were crunchier like dried bacon bits. In the case of the pig, I could actually feel the grain of the meat as I ate the chocolate. Because of that, I give the pig an OMG rather the OM I bestowed upon the bar version, though I should note that they may have revamped the way they make their bacon chocolate, so it’s possible the bacon bar has been made just as bacon-y.

I shared some of the pig with my history of food professor, who loved it. I also offered some to my dean, who refused a taste at first, then went back for seconds. If anything, bacon chocolate always makes a splash and is a good conversation piece, making the Flying Chocolate Pig a cute (gag) gift.

Category: chocolate, novelty, OMG, Vosges | 1 Comment »

Calhoun College Chocolate Tasting Notes

March 18th, 2008 by Rosa

My tasting notes, as promised. I loved how I was able to notice the subtle differences between the bars by tasting them all together. For example, when I first tasted the Scharffen Berger Extra Rich Milk, I thought it was sweet and yogurty. Tasting it right after the Chocolove Milk and the Papua single origin bar, the Scharffen Berger bar suddenly took on smoky qualities.

  • Chocolove Milk Chocolate (33%) – thick and creamy, coats the tongue heavily; vanilla and caramel notes
  • Nirvana Belgian Chocolates’ Papua single origin (35%) – dull and greasy looking, coffee smell, vanilla and yogurt flavor
  • Scharffen Berger Extra Rich Milk (41%) – dusky, smoky flavor, soft snap with a thick and heavy melt, lingering finish
  • Endangered Species Smooth Milk (52%) – earthy, pepper flavor
  • Vosges Naga Bar (41%) – a bit grainy with a great snap, coconut flavor
  • Vosges Mo’s Bacon Bar (41%) – smells smoky, bacon bits give it a large grain, super salty bar
  • Vosges Red Fire or Oaxaca Bars (55%) – starts off sweet but the chili burn and the heat builds, a finish that lingers in the back of the throat
  • Chocolove Ginger Crystallized in Dark Chocolate (65%) – sweet, sugar flavor, light ginger and citrusy notes
  • Chocolove Strong Dark (70%) – earthy aroma, greasy texture
  • Lake Champlain Single Origin Sao Thome (70%) – sweet and fruity notes
  • Vosges Creole Bar (70%) – sweet start, coffee finish that lingers, a creamy melt around the coffee bean and nib bits
  • Scharffen Berger Antilles (75%) – my favorite of the bunch – a sharp snap on a glossy, dark bar, creamy melt, lingering finish
  • Lake Champlain Single Origin Tanzania (75%) – banana notes, thinner melt, unpleasant finish that’s buttery and lingering
  • Scharffen Berger Extra Dark (82%) – bitter tobacco notes with a slightly sweet finish
  • La Maison Du Chocolat Coro (100%) – bitter start, dries out the mouth
  • Valrhona Gianduja Noisette (no %, but super, super light milk) -super soft, almost like fudge at room temperature, quite soft, creamy, heavy, and thick with strong hazelnut flavors

Category: chocolate, Chocolove, Dagoba, Endangered Species, Lake Champlain, Scharrfen Berger, Vosges | No Comments »

Vosges Haut Chocolat Truffles

January 30th, 2008 by Rosa

The Vosges Haut Chocolat boutique was at the top of my list of candy places to hit up in Vegas (though it was a short list; Ethel’s Chocolate Lounge was the only other place on there). The flagship Whole Foods in Austin carries several Vosges bars (BUY!) and small prepicked boxes of their truffles, but I wanted to see an actual Vosges boutique in all of its chocolate glory. I visited the one in Caesar’s Palace’s Forum Shops with my mother on Christmas day, and she generously offered to buy me whatever I wanted as my Christmas gift.

The boutique was prettily laid out, with lots of clean spaces, glass shelving, and accented displays. There’s also a chocolate bar in the back, where you can buy sipping chocolate and giant cookies the size of my outstretched hand. I chose the assortment of mini-bars seen above in the top right corner (I’d known I wanted to buy those since I started planning my trip to the boutique) and picked out two of their truffles, the Tlan Nacu (below photo, left) and the Lion (below photo, right), for my Christmas present. The Vosges employee helping me put them in a pretty white box that he then tied with a purple satin ribbon (like the ones in this photo). I appreciated the decorative touch, as later chocolatiers I visited put my individually purchased truffles in paper or cellophane bags, which were far less pretty.

The Tlan Nacu, described by Vosges as Mexican vanilla bean + dark chocolate, had an incredibly creamy ganache with a sweet tinge to its aftertaste. Otherwise, though, it pretty much tasted like a softened dark chocolate, which is basically what you get when you add vanilla to chocolate.

I couldn’t remember what was in the Lion truffle, so the ingredient list couldn’t influence my tasting notes. I got a very slight chili heat that reminded me of a chocolate chipotle gelato I had a Viva Chocolato. In the truffle, it’s more of a suggestion of that peppery, spicy heat without any actual fire. I also got some slight fruity notes in the aftertaste. Revisiting my photos reveals that the Lion is allspice berry, calabaza, dark chocolate, and pumpkin seed. The pumpkin seed didn’t add much in the way of taste, probably because I picked it off and ate it on its own. Whoops. The allspice berry was probably the source of the chili almost-heat I couldn’t describe while the calabaza, a type of lightly sweet squash, accounted for the slight sweetness in the finish.

These truffles have the smoothest ganache I have ever had the pleasure to experience, and their spherical shapes are gorgeous in a minimalist manner. I wish I’d picked something more adventurous than the Tlan Nacu, which turned out to be pretty tame, but the most of the other interesting truffles overlapped with the mini chocolate bars. At $3 a pop, the Vosges truffles tie with the imported truffles at Viva Chocolato for the most expensive truffles I’ve ever bought. I’d give them a hearty ZOMG! for being decadent, interesting, and well made, but I’m demoting them to an OMG because of the exorbitant price. I probably wouldn’t buy them again for myself, but I wouldn’t turn them down if I got a chance to pick out more next Christmas.

You can also check out Cybele’s take on the Vosges brand at her site.

Category: candy resource, chocolate, OMG, review, Vosges | 2 Comments »

Vosges Bacon Bar

August 17th, 2007 by Rosa

mosbaconbarpop.jpgI had read about the Vosges Bacon Bar (photo from Vosges website) at various candy review websites and had been dying to try it for myself. I mean, chocolate and bacon? How could that possibly taste good? I asked my friend Katie, who lives in Chicago, if she’d be willing to visit a Vosges chocolate boutique and pick me up a bar. The $7 price tag was certainly steep, but my curiosity needed to be sated.

A couple of weeks later, I visited Austin’s downtown Whole Foods flagship store – a ginormous tribute to all things wholesome and organic and hipster/crunchy/granola – with my friends Cassie and Mahta. They have an amazing chocolate bar (as in a bar that serves chocolate) which I shall write about later; this review’s focus is on the chocolate bar aisle, or as I like to call it, ZOMG, Candy! heaven.

Several of the unique chocolates that I’d read about (Lake Champlain, Theo 3400 Phinney, Chocolove, Endangered Species, Green + Black, Fran’s, etc.) and more that I’d never heard of were in that magical aisle. This was definitely not the type of chocolate you’d get trick or treating. And, of course, they had a huge selection of Vosges bars.

I called Katie and shared my chocolate discovery joy with her. Fortunately, she had been planning to go to Vosges the very next day, so I was able to release her from her favor and save her the trip, just in time. I picked up the Vosges bacon bar. Then I put it back down and swapped it for a less out-there flavor of Vosges. $7 is a lot to spend on a single bar. You could buy about a dozen mass marketed bars for that price. I knew the more conventional Vosges flavors were sure to be delicious, and I didn’t want to waste my Vosges splurge on something that could be nasty. But then again, could I bear passing up this tasting adventure?

I picked the bacon bar back up again and dawdled in the aisle some more. Just then, a Whole Foods employee walked by. “Oh, you’re going to get the bacon bar?” he asked. I told him that I’d read about it and wanted to try it but was unsure about the expense. “I’ve had it before,” he said. “It’s pretty good. Do you want to try a piece?”

With that, he led me over to another Whole Foods employee behind a counter, asked him if we could crack open the bar for a taste, opened the bar, and offered me a piece before grabbing one himself. My friends, some other Whole Foods employees, and another shopper all got tastes. Hooray for generous free samples!

What to make of the bar? The bacon taste is subtle, but it’s definitely there. The bacon is embedded in the chocolate in little crunchy pieces that carry just a hint of bacon flavor, like the most delicious bacon bits ever made. The bar tastes and smells like a smokehouse, like walking past a true Texas barbecue. I’d say that the smokiness is the most noticeable taste; the other shopper that was offered a taste didn’t realize the chocolate was bacon flavored until we told her so.

Cassie said she would’ve liked the bar better if it were made of dark chocolate (like me, she prefers dark to milk), but I think the sweetness of the milk chocolate is needed to counter the salt and smoke. A dark chocolate version would probably be overwhelmed.

This isn’t a bar to be eaten often or in large quantities, but it’s certainly delicious. I chose to tag it as novelty because that’s what initially drew me to the bar, but it can definitely hold its own as a piece of fine chocolate. When I’m no longer a poor college student, I will be sure to buy more Vosges bars and try their whole repertoire.

Category: chocolate, novelty, OM, review, Vosges | 1 Comment »