Monday, October 26, 2009

Vosges Haut Chocolate Skulls

Vosges Red Fire SkullOn my recent trip to Las Vegas I spent zero time in the casinos (except to traverse them to get to the chocolate and of course scanning the slot machines to find a candy-themed one) and all my time either walking or browsing fine chocolate.

Las Vegas actually has some very nice options for chocolate lovers and thankfully they’re liberally scattered around if you’re not into skipping from one casino-hotel-monstrosity to another. I went up to the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace to the Vosges Haut-Chocolat Boutique. Since it was barely a week to Halloween, I picked up a selection of their Skulls. (They’re a variation on their Easter Bunnies, which I attempted to review once before.)

There are three variations of the large skull shaped solid chocolates called Day of the Dead Skulls: Red Fire, Barcelona and Blanca. Each is 2.75 inches high, 1.75 inches wide at the widest and about 1 inch thick.

Vosges Barcelona Skull

The Barcelona Skull is made of hickory smoked almonds, Maldon sea salt + deep milk chocolate 45% cacao.

The eyes are also filled with coarse Black Hawaiian sea salt to give them a bit more impact. They each weigh 2.2 ounces, so it’s more chocolate than a regular single serve bar, but it’s a hefty lump. They’re not really that easy to share, as biting into it is messy and difficult and once it’s cut up with a knife the allure of the skull shape is ruined.

Vosges Barcelona Skull

Barcelona is available as a regular bar from Vosges, so I thought it would be fun to try in the novelty shape anyway. The color is quite deep and rich looking and I could actually make out the little almond bits near the surface.

As a milk chocolate it’s an easier bite than most dark chocolates. The deep milk chocolate is creamy with strong woodsy notes that are amplified by the mineral notes of the sea salt and the buttery crunch of the Marcona almonds.

I enjoyed the deep bites of the chocolate (yes, I just gnawed my way through the whole skull) more than I think I would a flat bar.

Vosges Red Fire Skull

The Red Fire Skull is deep and shiny. It smells fruity and also very peppery. Like a bottle of Tabasco sauce, a hardwood smokebox and some other spice notes like cinnamon.

I was a little worried about the spice level. I’m good with horseradish, wasabi and curries, but capsaicin (the active ingredient in chili peppers) is unpleasant for me pretty often. Thankfully I think the chocolate is exceptionally well balanced. It’s hot (at least to me) but not uncomfortably so.

The woodsy notes have a definite tangy bent to them, like smoked peppers that have been re-hydrated there’s a bit of a spicy raisin feel. The cinnamon notes are also quite apparent. The bite of the chocolate is quite firm, there’s a distinct snap, but it is hard to just bite right into this thick skull.

The chocolate flavors aren’t overwhelmed by all of this, which is refreshing compared to some flavored bars. I felt that it was a good blend of flavors and intensity. The spices themselves lent a little grain to the chocolate which reminded me of the traditional stone ground Mexican hot chocolate I’ve had. I found the salt reservoir of the eye sockets to be far to intense and I felt really creepy digging out the salt from the second one.

Vosges Blanca Skull

This Skull was different from the Vosges bar, the Blanca is just high quality white chocolate, featuring 36% cocoa butter. (Catch me on a good day and I’m also about one third cocoa butter.)

The scent is rather odd, a little milky but not as sugary sweet smelling as some others and lacking a vanilla pop that I’ve had from Green & Blacks White.

The texture is a bit softer than the dark chocolate. It’s not quite as silky smooth, but still quite fatty with a good melt. The milky and dairy flavors are rich and thick and a bit on the sticky side. The vanilla has a good presence but not so much that it takes the center stage here. The Black Hawaiian sea salt, in this instance, is a wonderful counterpoint to the sweetness.

Still, it’s hard to just eat straight white chocolate. I found it was a nice way to offset the lingering throat burn of the Red Fire chilies.

They are rather expensive. The set of three is $21 and individuals are sold for $8 each. At 2.2 ounces they’re more expensive than the bars ... which are also on the pricey side (3 ounces for $7.50). If you’re looking for a more upscale and dependably tasty hostess gift for The Day of the Dead, well this will do the trick nicely. Part of me wanted more packaging (the Easter bunnies get little boxes) but then again this is spare and does the job.

Related Candies

  1. Compartes Chocolates
  2. Stainer: Peru & Bianco
  3. Mori Ex Cacao Gift Set
  4. CocoaBella “World’s Best Box”
  5. Vosges Truffles - Fall 2006
  6. Vosges Haut-Chocolate
  7. Vosges Exotic Candy Bars
Name: Day of the Dead Skulls: Barcelona, Red Fire & Blanca
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Vosges Haut-Chocolat
Place Purchased: Vosges (Las Vegas)
Price: $7.00 each in set
Size: 2.2 ounces each
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chocolate, White Chocolate, Nuts, United States, Vosges Haut-Chocolat, All Natural, Halloween

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:38 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

Comments
  1. I love Vosges.  The staff in their Las vegas shop is really freindly and very generous with the samples.  They make the best bacon chocolate bar on the market.  I also really like their Macha chocolate bar.

    Comment by A on 10/26/09 at 12:53 pm #
  2. The white one is freaking me out…I’m going to have nightmares about it tonight.

    Comment by Marvo on 10/26/09 at 2:18 pm #
  3. Oh… Vosges. Goodness, I miss them so much. Every single chocolate they craft is creatively made with love. They are expensive, but it is worth it a couple of times a year.

    Comment by Marissa on 10/26/09 at 3:32 pm #
  4. Ah yes, this please. Skulls and Vosges, perfect for Halloween, my birthday, any day, really. I was recently in Vegas for the first time, if I had only known!!!

    Comment by Ruby n' me on 10/26/09 at 4:10 pm #
  5. They are really too pretty to eat. The sea-salt eyes make me think of Damien Hirst’s diamond-encrusted skull. I’ll take the chocolate ones over diamond and platinum any day!

    Comment by CandyProfessor on 10/27/09 at 3:36 am #
  6. >> (Catch me on a good day and I?m also about one third cocoa butter.)

    haHA! best laugh of the day, thank you.

    Comment by santos. on 10/28/09 at 12:07 am #
  7. I just picked up the Gianduja & Barcelona mini-bars, and searched your blog to see if you’d reviewed them.

    Your poor-melted-easter-bunny post said that you were waiting for a shop to open up in LA - and you probably will have to for most items - but Whole Foods has the whole line of bars & mini (.5oz) bars. The regular size bars are on sale for 5.99 this week, at least at the whole foods near me (Westwood). The mini ones aren’t, and the per-oz price is CRAZY for those, but it is a good way to try more of them overall. . .

    Comment by emi s. on 11/05/09 at 4:35 am #
  8. you’re post is rock!

    Comment by mark on 11/10/10 at 8:46 pm #

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