Monday, April 17, 2006

Vosges Haut-Chocolate

Whoo hoo! I had quite a morning down in SoHo on my last day in NYC. My first stop was at Vosges. I’d already been in NYC for a week, and I’d resisted the temptation to go upscale. But I’d done all the other scales and the trip had been pretty cheap, so here I was, throwing caution to the wind.

imageI’ve already tried several of the Vosges chocolate bars and though they’re fantastically expensive for chocolate bars ($6.75 each), they had flavor combinations you just don’t get from anyone else in that price range.

But I really needed to try the truffles, again, because of the flavor combinations.

Stepping into the shop, it was larger than many other little places I’d visited in NYC and it didn’t hurt that it was a Thursday morning and the only other person in the shop besides the woman behind the counter was a messenger who seemed a little lost and grateful for a little sample of chocolate before he got his bearings.

As I got my bearings by taking a few of the same samples (one was the Red Fire chocolate and the other was their version of guanduia) and became accustomed to the vibrant purple tones, I ordered a hot chocolate. They had three to chose from, a standard European style dark hot chocolate, a Red Fire, which I’d already had several of since I came to NY and then the last option on the board was a Hot White Chocolate. Now I’m not normally one to go for these sorts of things, but I hadn’t had anything to eat so far that morning (it was a little after 11AM) but it was described as an infusion of white chocolate and lavender with lemon. Sounds good enough for me. I wasn’t disappointed. It was served in a tall, narrow cylinder of a glass and it was spectacular. It was like drinking a creme brulee, but not quite so syrupy rich. Not nearly as sweet as I expected, it was creamy and rich and the citrus/floral infusion kept it feeling light and refreshing. I don’t mind spending that much at all, because I know it’s something I’m never going to make at home.

While drinking I had plenty of time to look over the truffles to make my selection:


Absinthe - an infusion of anise, fennel and pastis - lighter and more woodsy than licorice, the smooth ganache blended well. The top was sprinkled with ground Chinese star anise, which was the only part that I didn’t like, as it added a little too much grain to the experience.

Ellateria - Holy Moly! It’s the Holy Grail of cardamom chocolates. Why don’t they make a chocolate bar like this? The ganache is an infusion of dark chocolate with cardamom and white poppy seeds with more sprinkled on top. The whole box was fragranced by the cardamom, these were smooth and flavorful and just made me want more. It’s rare when a truffle makes me want to pop another in my mouth.

Poivre - yes peppercorn truffles and boy howdy is the burn nice. Telicherry black and Muntok white peppercorns in a smooth ganache and some extra crushed peppercorns on the top for a lingering tingle.

Tlan Nacu - I couldn’t even remember which one this was when I bit into it and I had to look it up. It was a nice, dark chocolate truffle with seemingly no essences to it. It turns out it was Vanilla. Hey, it was! Mellow and sweet, vanilla is a wonderful complement to chocolate.

Naga - of all of the truffles I picked out, this is the only one I had tried in bar form. Naga is coconut and curry in milk chocolate. It’s quite a stunning combination, with a strange milky quality and of course the tickly tingle of curry.

Sal del Mare - a salted caramel. This one still qualified as a truffle though. the lighter chocolate shell had two chambers, the bottom was flowing salted caramel and the top was chocolate ganache. The caramel was smooth and sweet and with a salted bite and the chocolate set it off nicely. Not nearly as shocking as some other salted caramels and this one had the added bonus of a pine nut on top to mellow all the flavors together.

(Yes, there are more truffles in the box than listed here, I did some doubles and one just for my husband that I didn’t taste.)

Overall, I think that the Vosges shop is a great destination, a little treat for yourself if you’re in one of the cities where they have a store (Chicago, NYC and Las Vegas). The quality is superb, the freshness and combination of flavors set them apart from many other trufflers. Whereas many of the other truffles and chocolates I experienced (Pierre Marcolini & Marie Belle) on this trip were the flattened kind, Vosges makes them as generous spheres that give you ample ganache for really appreciating the flavors. I don’t see myself ordering them online, but I know I’ll make an effort to see their flagship store in Chicago when I’m there in June.

The store also features some clothing and candles and other lifestyle paraphernalia, but I’m not about to start reviewing the branded merchandise that goes with chocolate. There’s a long bar with stools for sitting and enjoying a drink or truffle on site with a friend or as a solo treat, and if you play your cards right, you can get out of there for less than $10.00. But if you’re looking for a real splurge, they have a “Club Haut-Chocolat” where they’ll send you a box of nine for 13 months for a mere $490. That’s love, baby.

Name: Vosges Assorted Chocolate Truffles
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Vosges
Place Purchased: Vosges - SoHo (NYC)
Price: $23.00 for assortment of 9
Size: 4.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, Caramel, Nuts, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:33 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. I was so glad I live far far away from their stores ... but now Whole Foods has started carrying some of their wares. I am in so much trouble ...

    Comment by Elkit on 4/17/06 at 6:45 pm #
  2. Thank you!  I was stumped over what to get my Mom for Mother’s Day.  Since we will be celebrating at my sister’s house in Chicago…problem solved!

    Comment by elleninha on 4/18/06 at 3:22 am #
  3. That sounds divine.  So does anyone have any candy stores in Philly to recommend?  Myself and another candy-holic will be visiting there this weekend.

    Comment by g on 4/18/06 at 3:42 am #
  4. Just found this site today, while looking up info about Ginger Bears, and have had a great time browsing through archives. It’s amazing how much the site has grown in just over a year! I’ve bookmarked it and will be back..

    I lived in Philly for a short time, and although I can’t recommend any particular shops, a friend and I went to different grocery stores in Chinatown to find unusual goodies.  Reading Terminal Market might be a good place to browse, too?

    Comment by BlogRank on 4/18/06 at 5:39 am #
  5. Love the Naga!

    Comment by Julilla on 4/18/06 at 8:07 am #
  6. Cybele's avatar

    g - I agree with BlogRank - the Reading Terminal Market had a least one chocolate/candy spot that I recall (they had a large display of candied apples last time I was there ... which was a LONG time ago).

    I also did a little websearching and found these:
    Evans Chocolates - Haddonfield, New Jersey

    You might have to report back on your weekend!

    Comment by Cybele on 4/18/06 at 1:26 pm #
  7. Mmmmm…. I’ve heard about that Hot White Chocolate before! It’s legendary to me! I’m a white chocolate lover (heck! all chocolate) so I have been very interested in trying this.

    The Ellateria truffle sounds so good. Yummy!

    As always, your photography is gorgeous.

    I always seem to forget to go to Vosges when I’m in SoHo….now I really have to stop in next time! :D

    Comment by Sera on 4/18/06 at 4:34 pm #
  8. Oh My God! I really envy you! =P You’re soooo bad! heheheh

    Comment by lekrapo on 4/19/06 at 12:45 am #
  9. I love this Chocolate. I’ve been to the NYC store and just stood there and looked for 30 minutes. Then I had picked a box of 9 caramels..just for me. I am on their mailing list and have resisted ordering. But I do look at the catalog….a lot. You have a wonderful web site.

    Comment by Cathy on 11/19/06 at 10:53 am #
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