Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Vosges Dominican Dark chocolate and Creole Bar with Chicory Coffee

Today I am tasting two more of Vosges Haut Chocolat chocolate bars: the Organic Dominican Dark bar (74% cacao) with "Criollo and Trinitario cocoa bean varietals" and the Creole Bar (72%) with "New Orleans style chicory coffee and cocoa nibs". Although I have a whole range of Vosges bars to choose from in my tasting cabinet, I selected these purely based on how I am feeling today.  I have entered the third trimester of my pregnancy and I still sometimes wake up feeling a bit queasy. Today was one of those days, so I just couldn't imagine tasting Vosges' more adventurous chocolate combinations, like the "enchanted mushroom" chocolate bar, and instead decided that simple and bitter was a better option for me this morning.

I immediately noticed that the Dominican Dark has a very smoky and spicy smell to it. As for it's texture, it is not very smooth and a bit chalky, but in a good way, in the way that it tastes more like finely ground nibs, than smooth chocolate. I like that Vosges states on the package that this chocolate is made with Criollo and Trinitario cacao bean varieties. I hate having to guess at the type of cacao bean used.  I also like that it is organic and labelled as such. In fact, Vosges has been very environmentally conscious with its packaging as well, with the box being made from 100% recycled paperboard. Plus, the cocoa is Rainforest Alliance Certified.

The Creole Bar has a very strong and bitter smell to it, with coffee overtones.  I like the tiny crunchy bits of nibs - they add a nice textural element while still letting the chocolate melt in your mouth. The coffee flavour was not overbearing so you could taste the chocolate.  It has been a very long time since I tasted chicory coffee last, but I was expecting a different flavour from regular coffee.  I was surprised that it just tasted like a normal coffee chocolate bar - although a very good one.
What I like (and don't like at the same time) is the tiny size of these chocolate bars.  I like them because I just was able to taste two different kinds without feeling guilty about how much chocolate I ate. Perhaps that is why it came packaged in a "survival kit" for expecting mothers - they know we need portion control! Because I am pregnant, I now carry more guilt than usual when chocolate tasting.  I used to feel guilty for the sake of my waistline when I tasted too much chocolate in one day.  Now I still feel that type of guilt, but also guilt for the sake of the baby's health.  Although I don't believe that pregnant women should have to stop eating chocolate while pregnant (as some pregnancy-buzz-killers believe), I do think we should not overdo it. So I guess I thank Vosges for making such tiny portions.  However, the cost of these tiny portions is wildly high. This "Mama's chocolat cravings kit" as it says on the tag, has only nine 14 gram (0.5 oz) chocolate bars in it and it cost $25 (US). That's $2.78 per mini chocolate bar.  If you wanted to upgrade to an 85 gram (3oz) bar, you would spend about $8.50 (US) per bar.

So although the cost is very high for Vosges chocolate, I actually did not mind spending the money because the chocolate maker offers such an interesting range of flavour combinations, and what I like to do most of all is experience new taste combinations in chocolate. So for me, it was worth the money spent.

To read about another interesting Vosges flavour combination, check out my review of their bacon & chocolate bars.

Here are the specifics taken from the packages of the two Vosges chocolate bars that I tasted today:

Organic Dominican Dark (Dominican Republic dark chocolate), 74% cacao, 0.5oz/14g
Vosges IP, LLC
Chicago, IL U.S.A.
Ingredients: Dark chocolate (*+cocoa mass, *sugar, *cocoa butter). Chocolate bar contains: 70% coca solids minimum. *Organic ingredients. +Cocoa mass and cocoa butter from Rainforest Alliance Certified(TM) farms.  Manufactured in a facility that handles tree nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, milk, eggs, wheat, shellfish and soy.  Vegan. Gluten-free. Certified organic by Oregon Tilth.

Creole Bar (New Orleans style chicory coffee, Sao Thome bittersweet chocolate cocoa nibs), 72% cacao, 0.5oz/14g
Vosges IP, LLC
Chicago, IL U.S.A.
Ingredients:  Dark chocolate (cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla), 2% chicory coffee, 2% cocoa nibs.  Chocolate bar contains: 70% cocoa solids minimum.  Contains: Soy.  Manufactured in a facility that handles tree nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, milk, eggs, wheat, shellfish and soy. Vegan. Gluten-Free.

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