We are Vosges groupies. Team Vosges, if you will. If they had a campaign trail or a tasting tour or twelve city, all exclusive tongue signing tour, we'd be following them the entire way. If they had a scandal that involved Oprah or accidentally sending out photos of themselves wrestling in chocolate and denying it or an underage chocolate bean, we'd defend them. We love their flavors and epicurean delights, be it a sundried tomato and paprika caramel or a lemon peppercorn chocolate bar. They are delicious. This particular bar debuted last year at the Summer Fancy Food Show, though for the life of me I cannot remember tasting it. Clearly we'd had too many milk-based Mexican cocktails and wine-flavored ice creams. It's a bar that highlights flavors more commonly found in cocktails than in chocolate- blood orange, Campari, and hibiscus, melded together with a caramel base.
This is the ideal bar to give to someone who claims that they don't like exotic flavors. Not because it isn't exotic, but because I find that it's approachable, yet less daring or scary than a chocolate bar with mushrooms or ramen noodles in it. And unlike the original Campari, this bar doesn't include any cochineal insects- as far as I know.The bittersweet chocolate and blood orange caramel pair exquisitely together. There's a fantastic burnt, bitter note from the intensity of the orange, almost like an orange oil flavor, along with the floral and herb flavors from the Campari. The only flavor I really don't taste at all is the hibiscus, which is unfortunate as it would then be Keepitcoming's new favorite chocolate bar. If it's there, it's very delicate and light at the end, after all the bitter and rich flavors have been sucked away.
While I applaud the usage of an ingredient like hibiscus in a chocolate bar, I find that when mixed with such intense flavors that deviate toward the heavy end of the spectrum, a floral taste gets washed away. I am also somewhat mixed on the blending of all the olfactory-heavy ingredients into a caramel. The Vosges caramel is one of the finest I've been privy to sampling, however, I feel that the textural integrity (LOL @ Hipsterette) is somewhat diluted by the lack of candied, chewy blood orange rinds and crunchy sugared hibiscus pieces, both of which could easily be added and mixed in a caramel with little finagling. No doubt about it, though, it's a quality bar, just one that needs some tweaking for my personal palate if I'm going to fork over another $7 to eat it again.
Labels: 8, chocolate, dessert, snack