Part of an occasional series about chocolates I have loved (or not)…
It has been a couple of months since my last Chocomania post and I have several goodies to share with you. Interestingly, they’re all by Vosges, which is the maker of my favorite drool-worthy bacon chocolate. (And having eaten both the milk and the dark chocolate versions of bacon chocolate several times, I have finally concluded that the milk version is my favorite.)
Vosges bars are expensive — usually $7-8 each* — however, these are oversized bars of around 3 oz. (85g), so you should be getting at least two servings out of each one anyway, lest you snort down 400-500 calories in one go. Since the bars have eight squares each, I usually eat two squares and call it good.
(*Local friends, you can find them in the $5-6 range at Rebecca’s.)
Marzipan Bar - This confection contains Sicilian almond marzipan, amaretto, and dark chocolate (62% cacao) and is hands-down the best marzipan bar I’ve ever eaten, which is saying a lot. The marzipan is moist and the amaretto adds greatly to the flavor. The dark chocolate is smooth and not at all bitter, which is a complaint I’ve had about other dark chocolate bars. I’m glad that I always eat the Vosges bars over several sittings, because I’ve found this marzipan bar one time only, so at least I made that one bar last, because it might be a while before I can replenish my supply. (I promise I won’t stockpile, like we do with other items.)
Gingerbread Toffee Bar - Oh my holy hell, y’all. This baby is GOOOOOOOOD. This is a dark chocolate (65% cacao) bar with bits of gingerbread spiced toffee flecked throughout. You don’t get a mouth full of gingerbread so much as you get the essence of it — there are hints of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice that leave a pleasant after-taste. Again, the dark chocolate is smooth and not too strong. Get this one soon, because it’s a limited edition.
Black Salt Caramel Bar - Another winner. Dark chocolate (70% cacao) is filled with burnt sugar caramel and flecked with black Hawaiian sea salt. The caramel is rich and buttery and will ooze down your chin if you’re not careful, so have a napkin handy.
Bapchi’s Caramel Toffee Bar - I was initially dubious about this one, as it contains bits of walnuts and pecans, which are not my favorite nuts, but I decided to give it a try since it also contains sweet butter toffee. The chocolate this time is a deep milk (45% cacao), which is nice because it’s not too sweet and doesn’t make you crave more. Overall, this bar is very nice and tastes more of toffee than it does nuts. It doesn’t make my top five faves by Vosges, but that’s only because there are so many other amazing bars.
Going through the Vosges website, I now realize that there are plenty of other yummies that I will need to try — caramel marshmallows, Pink Himalayan Salt Caramel Bar*,Woolloomooloo Candy Bar, and possibly the Smoke and Stout Caramel Bar.
(* Since my blog post about salts, I have sampled pink Himalayan salt and have learned that it is indeed delicious.)
Moving on to my one miss: Another chocolate I tried recently was the Chocolate Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt by Equal Exchange. I am a big fan of Equal Exchange because they only offer Fair Trade products and I want to do what I can to support their mission. This particular bar is 55% cacao and is flecked with crunchy caramel bits and flavored with a hint of salt. Unfortunately, I didn’t love it. The chocolate had a slightly unusual flavor that I didn’t care for and I simply wasn’t wild about the caramel crunch. I think it’s probably a good bar overall, but it just didn’t appeal to my particular tastebuds. Since I didn’t love it, I ended up using the rest of the chocolate in a baking project. Pete thought that was a waste of a good chocolate bar, but the girls and I looked at it as an excellent use of resources.
So that’s the latest chocolate report. Let me know if you’ve tried any of these bars and what you thought and if there are others we all should know about.
Disclaimer: I’m not employed by any of the companies mentioned here, nor was I asked to review their products, which is a damn shame because I would be all over that gig.
I will hunt down the gingerbread toffee bar! I have seen the others, and since I am out of the craving for chocolate zone, I have not partaken of them…well, except for the black salt caramel bar—I remember thinking it was delectable, but it did not cause me to want for more, so I gave up. But—that gingerbread toffee one has me wondering. I know if you say it’s good, then it’s great!
You know, I think that maybe the sea salt might do something to your taste buds. I had a sea salt bar from Elbow and it was not my favorite either.
Now I am going to have to hunt down those vodges bars!
Stop tempting me with Vosges…which I cannot buy within 300 miles! (And all my bacon chocolate is gone too. Boo.)
Here’s a question I have been too lazy to Google. Do you suppose shelf life is a factor in taste? For instance, the one high-end store where I can find very good chocolate does not, I imagine, have high volume sales (because hi, I live in an area where these things are not valued so much as say, a prime cut of steak). So by the time I pick up that $7 chocolate bar…how long has it been sitting there? Will it taste off compared to a bar that might have been just delivered? If I’m forking out $7 for chocolate, it had better taste the way it ought, non?
(Meanwhile, I’m scrounging my pennies for a Frango spree to occur whilst in Chicago after Thanksgiving.)
Yes, shelf life is important. Luckily, Vosges comes with a handy “best by” date on each and every package.
I die for Vosges. Totally worth it. Now I must find this Black Salt Caramel Bar. Oh yum!!
Yes, shelf life does affect taste.
IF the Equal Exchange was made with cocoa from one certain region, it may have a different flavor - chocolates taste differently based on origin of cocoa just like coffees or wines. But you probably already knew that.
I’d never heard of Vosges, and I’m a little afraid, now, to go to their website. I might end up draining my bank account.
Oddly, I’m not really a chocoholic, but this post made me drool. Mmmm. Wonder if they sell Vosges at the Mall I can walk to at lunch?
Torture. Pure torture!
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh I am a chocoholic!!! My fav is semisweet milk chocolate and the white chocolate doesn’t even hit my rating chart it’s not REAL chocolate.
I made a chocolate ganache cake this weekend… it will be on my blog later this week so pop over and check it out. I have my recipe there too. Yummiliciousness
I still dont like chocolate….more for you, but last year around this time I had a Texas Armadillo….OMG I could have snarfed the entire box in one sitting. I guess an Armadillo is bigger than a turtle and no yucky chocolate to ruin the yum!!!!
/Homer Simpson voice/
/end Homer Simpson voice/
I would cut a bitch for the gingerbread toffee or the black sea salt bars!
I can’t eat chocolates without guilt anymore. Do you know where the Vosges people fall on the Fair Trade continuum? Because these all sound amazing. Another one I have tried recently…cappuccino truffles from Whole Foods. Decadent is the best word to describe them. I need to do some research on those, too.
I read this: “This confection contains Sicilian almond marzipan” as “This confection contains silicon almond marzipan”… and thought - ewww!