Vosges La Parisienne Haut Chocolat

It's called "haut" chocolat. And that should have been my first warning. But there it sat, in my hot little hands, and I paid the $3.59, went on my merry way, and thought none the better of it.

It was finally cold enough to drink this, though, so Keepitcoming and I decided to snuggle up with Elf, thinking that a mug of hot chocolate would be the perfect pairing. But this, Vosges will assure you, is so much more than just a mug of hot chocolate, like futilely trying to see the pipe in a Magritte painting or the penis in the Rorschash blot.

It starts out with an obnoxious amount of preparation and tools. While you're waiting for your obnoxious four ounces of milk to heat up, you can read the obnoxious background text, with helpful additions one can use if you have them leftover from your last gala or gallery opening- farmer's cheese to make it "authentically Columbian" or serving it with brioche and a fresh orange peel. This is verbatim from the back of the packet and makes me feel gayer than five penises touching.
After letting the cocoa steep for five minutes, an absurdly asinine task adding onto the ten minutes we'd already spent letting the milk boil and then reduce, we were finally able to serve it. Note the drippy decadence on the front of the package. That's no aesthetic nuance- that's because it's very hard to scrape all the thick hot chocolate from the pan in order to eke your $3.59's worth and get your paltry four ounces.Unfortunately, our Limoges demitasse cups (Marie Antoinette's, who else?) were at the cleaner's, so we were forced to use a bulky pedestrian mug. All the haut chocolat, including that which we scraped off with our spatula (bringing our equipment count to four items) filled about a third of the way up. This was not conveyed on the package, and because we were so caught up in the allure of finally being able to prepare things like the French do, we looked over the fact that it yields far less than the average person will wish to consume.Because this chocolate is so rich and thick, it is extremely hot when it comes out and maintains the texture and heat-retaining properties of napalm. After a slight detour to the burn ward, we returned with our tongues fully scraped, ready to embrace the complexity of this captivating treat. It's like drinking liquid pudding with occasional textural inconsistencies from the cooled bits of skin on top. The chocolate is very rich, very chalky, and a little bitter. It feels like something I could easily make with my own high-quality dark chocolate. Now, worldly readers may accuse me of being gauche- "Foodette, haven't you heard of Europe? Their hot chocolate is like pudding!" Well, I have heard of Europe, and what's more, I've been there, and I've gotten a lot more hot chocolate for my two Euro. That being said, there is a bright side to this tired tirade. After finishing half of this and having no stomach for any more, Keepitcoming suggested mixing some cold milk into the remains.The result was much better. The chalkiness was completely tempered out, and the creamy milk made it feel a lot richer without having that unpleasant clotted feel. I had a feeling this would be a better option- at the Fancy Food Show, we tried the white chocolate equivalent of this as a cold beverage and fell in love. So that's what I'd suggest doing with this. It doesn't soothe the soul in the same way as a hot mug of cocoa does on a cold night, but that's where Swiss Miss comes in. Gal may be cheap, but she's easy, doesn't require half the stove to prepare, and keeps you warm on a chilly winter's eve.

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