I 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.