Friday, December 20, 2013

A whole week of chocolate, chocolate party, chocolate tour, and the end of year chocolate coma: part 1.

So since I’ve last blogged, I’ve had a chocolate tasting party (complete with a stack of leftover chocolate), gone on a chocolate tour and had a whole week’s worth of advent calendar chocolate.  So I’ve been needing a chocolate hiatus.  Unfortunately, while there’s never really too much chocolate, there is such a thing as too much chocolate all at once.  So now that I’ve emerged from my chocolate-induced coma, I’m back to blog about chocolate!

I won’t go into too much detail about the advent calendar, but I will pick out a few favorites.  First of all, the Bapchi’s Toffee Mini Chocolate Bar was a great blend of caramel crunch and deep milk chocolate.  I actually enjoyed the bar more than the actual Bapchi toffee. 

The Verde Caramel was also wonderful and the spice did not overpower the chocolate.  Less successful was the bacon caramel toffee.  There wasn’t much keeping the chocolate on he toffee and the chocolate fell apart quickly.  

There was also the mini Mo’s Dar Chocolate, which is even more overpowering than the milk bar, and pink Himalayan Crystal Caramels which were subtle and yummy. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday the 13th and I can't taste all the salts!

Day 11 was a blush caramel. 
This is another one of  the subtle caramels that I find don’t taste all that different from the wink of the rabbit.  There is a slight citrus flavor but not as strong as the Tarte caramel.  I enjoyed the taste of these very much

Day 12 was a sad sad day.

I knew one sad day this would happen:  I finally found a Vosges chocolate that I really don’t like.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, Vosges can be very aggressive with their flavor profiles and sometimes they just don’t work.  I found that the Smoke and Stout chocolates were just way too much for me.  The combination of stout and burnt sugar caramel just made everything taste burnt.  It was bitter and sour and just didn’t work for me.

 Day 13 was the fantastic peanut butter bonbon from the third day.  I wonder though, is there really any difference between Maldon salt and pink Himalayan salt?  Through extensive Google research, (by which I mean I googled Himalayan salt and found the first entry), Himalayan pink crystal salt is supposed to have more mineral elements than other salts.  This is also supposed to make it healthier for you.  (Though if you think about it, ingesting large amounts of any kind of sodium isn’t too great for your health…)  

I went and looked up Maldon salt because this is also in the bonbon.  And they have a special page on what salt it.  Just in case you don’t know what it is or does.  Also according to Wikipedia salts can elicit “all five basic tastes” so that complicates things a bit.  Though the salt that we think of is just plain ol’ sodium.  The truth is that salts should taste different because they come from different sources with different mineral compositions.  But hey, if you can’t taste the subtle differences than salt is salt.  And at this point, who cares, because my chocolates are already gone and I’m looking forward to the next treats!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Days 9 and 10: more caramels and an ol' standard.

I’ve been lucky enough to have my birthday and Christmas in the same month.  This month was overwhelmingly chocolaty.  Nothing wrong with that.  As I grow up and move along in my life, I’d like to think that I’ve grown in my love of chocolate.  Every day I learn more and more about flavors and what I like.

Needless to say this advent calendar is helping with that. 

Tarte Caramels
Ok so you know how I just said all Vosges caramels taste the same.  Well color me bad and I stand corrected.  I will admit that orange and chocolate is not my favorite flavor combination, but the mix of orange and this caramel are very delightful.  I’ll admit to licking the hibiscus flower powder off the top.  Hey! It’s my chocolate and I’ll eat it the way that I want to! 

The Ol’ Standard: Mo’s Bacon and Chocolate Bar (version Milk). 

The Mo’s Bacon bar is a bar that everyone should take seriously.  I can never manage to eat more than one little piece at a time.  I don’t think this is a chocolate bar for just anyone, but adventurous eaters should try it at least once  I always say that Vosges Chocolate has the most wonderfully wacky flavor profiles, and this one takes the cake.  Smoky, salty, chocolaty.  I think it’s probably best to try this in the small size (as they have in the calendar) but if you’re ready to share then the full sized bar might be the way for you to go. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Days seven and eight!

Black Sea Salt Caramel

On day seven I had my first liquid caramel from Vosges.  The gooey liquid caramel is locked away inside a deep dark delicious square of thick chocolate.  There wasn’t much salt to taste until the very end and it was very subtle.  I’m the kind of girl who loves an actually salty salted caramel, but I can understand why most people wouldn’t want the salt to overpower the chocolate. 

What was not subtle was the Red Fire Bar for the eighth day.

One of my favorite things Vosges does is mix fire with chocolate, and this bar is the prime example of what can happen when you pair the right amount of heat with a base of solid delicious chocolate.  Vosges chocolate bars often begins with a basic chocolate canvas and then their chocolatiers paint on additional flavors that blend in with the base.  The naga bar was warm and tropical and this bar packs a warm punch as well.  Now I’m going to go make some Aztec hot chocolate and settle in for a warm winter’s nap. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Sixth day: omnom Naga bar

Vosges is great for having a variety of what I like to call “weird flavors,” flavor combinations that you don’t think will work, but somehow do.  Their oyster and white chocolate truffle comes to mind.  The Naga bar is a sweet curry bar which brings to mind warm hints of summer and desert heat.  Which is lovely for a rainy day like today where all you want to do is curl up on the sofa and relax with some tea. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

On the fifth day: caramels

Today I had the sunshine caramel with honey and bee pollen and enjoyed it very much!  I'm a sucker for good caramels and this ranks up there with the best, but I have to admit I have a hard time telling the difference between the different styles of caramel that Vosges offers.  Don’t get me wrong, they’re all delicious.  The caramel is always just the right thickness, smooth but not hard to bite into and not too soft that it oozes out of the chocolate.  And some of the caramels have different nuts or flavors on top, but the caramel itself is usually the same.  

I'm looking forward to more of the caramels to come.  (And I'm actually starting to like that there is a big list of all the chocolates to refer back to, I stand corrected :D )

On the fourth day Vosges gave us Toffee

and it was good! 

When I was growing up one of the best things about Christmas were the great gifts we received after throwing our yearly Christmas bash.  This usually included a little chinese take out box of toffee.  Toffee, along with fruitcake and candy canes, really brings back holiday memories. 

There wasn’t anything particularly special about this toffee, but it was very good and sometimes that’s all you need!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Day two and three

The second day was Vosges signature Wink of the Rabbit Caramels. which I've posted about here before  Nutty and rich, these have always been a favorite.  What’s nice is that the box had two caramels we could share.  Sharing is always nice around the holidays, right?

The third day also had two chocolates; organic peanut butter bonbons.  I had never had these before. As a huge fan of peanut butter and chocolate my first thought as I bit into the bonbon was “omgodthatissoyummyomnomnom” and my second thought was that I felt a little mad about having already shared the second one with my husband. (so much for that holiday spirit). The smattering of salt on the top added to the refined taste and the blend of peanut butter and chocolate was divine.
I'm getting more and more excited about the rest of this calendar and I can't wait to meet more new favorites over these 22 more days.  Until tomorrow, chocolate fans!

Monday, December 2, 2013

On the first day of Christmas Vosges Chocolate Gave to Me….

 Happy Holidays Chocolate Lovers!

I was very excited to see a Vosges Chocolate advent calendar.  I haven’t done an advent calendar since I was really young and that was the kind with the little pop out windows and tiny pieces of chocolate that tasted only a little better than the cardboard they were hidden behind.  But what did I care?  I was a kid.  Chocolate was chocolate! Those were more innocent times. 

Luckily this isn’t your average kiddy advent calendar!  The box is huge and has 25 different compartments for each day before Christmas. Twas the Night Before Christmas is written on the sides of the door panels and everything is purple in honor of Vosges’ signature color. 

As soon as I opened the doors to the box I was a little disappointed to find an entire list of all the chocolate contained in each box.  For me, the point of an advent calendar is to be surprised by what you get each day.  In the future it might be better to have the label inside the box for after you open it to save some of the surprise. 

But surprises aside, I was very excited to see what I got for the first day.  

Vosges' peppermint candy cane bar is one of my favorites of theirs and finding a mini bar in the box was a great way to start off the season!  The peppermint and chocolate are very well balanced and are perfect for the holidays. 

(By the way, if you're still interested, the Vosges store in SoHo is still selling their advent calendar boxes  and at a discount.  I'm sure you won't be sad that you have to catch up.)

Monday, September 30, 2013


So for the most part I have woefully neglected this blog.  I now have a new puppy in the house who eats any scrap on the floor she can find, so having chocolate in the house is much more precarious than when it just used to go to my hips.  And since I only wish I could be a professional blogger, that means I can post whenever I want. 

And now that I’m finished with excuses, we can get on to the real reason you read this blog: amazing chocolate. 

I’m not always impressed by local New York “bean to bar” gourmet chocolates.  I’ll be the first to admit that I have been taken in by pretty packaging and a good slogan only to find that the chocolate inside is stale and not very appetizing.  So I was skeptical when I heard about Fine & Raw sea salt and Raaka’s bourbon cask aged chocolate bars.
Both companies are based out of Brooklyn and are equipped with that artistic wrapping paper that always makes me wonder about what's underneath.    But thankfully, I tried them at the most recent New Amsterdam Market and they reminded me of why I started a chocolate blog in the first place. 

Both Raaka and Fine & Raw are advertised as “raw chocolate” which means chocolate made in as close to a raw state as possible.  This means no refined sugars, and the resulting bars are about as far away from Hershey’s as you can possibly get. 
Fine &Raw’s 70% sea salt bar was deep and refreshing with a saltiness that you can actually taste, but doesn’t overwhelm the chocolate. 

Raaka’s bar was prepared by aging the cacao nibs in bourbon casks.   The bar is slightly thicker than most and has a warm cherry flavor with a strong berry aftertaste.  The bar tastes like the whiskey of chocolate, smooth and hits you with a punch. 

The bars are small and a little pricey, but completely worth it because a little bit goes a long way.  You won’t want to eat these in one sitting, but savor them with a glass of wine or cheese.   

Check out their websites here: