Though many people consider Valentine’s Day just anothermarketing scheme to make Americans spend money, I’ll be the first to admit thatI am a sucker for a heart-shaped box of chocolates. And if I’m going to gothere, I might as well go all the way and indulge my wallet and my taste buds withVosges Haut-Chocolat collections.
When I discovered this Chicago-based chocolatier three yearsago at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco,it was love at first sight. Not only is the packaging gorgeous, but the flavorsare so unique and adventurous that I wanted to try them all. Who would havethought Budapestsweet Hungarian paprika or rose water could make quality dark chocolate tasteeven better?
And with every new flavor combination, Vosgescontinues to trump itself. This year, the Sweet Coquette Collection, “a dossierof aphrodisiac truffles and folklore,” is something worth trying at least once.With truffles like Absinthe made withChinese star anise, fennel, pastis and dark chocolate, this Victorian-inspiredset will have your palette working outside of the box. My favorite is the Edith – Piper Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage Champagne, crushedrosebud tea and dark chocolate. If you really want to get outside of your comfort zone, try the Kumamoto – pearldust and Kumamotooysters with white chocolate. You can taste a combination of salty and sweetwith a subtle hint of the oyster towards the finish.
TheGatsby and Daisy collection, inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” also makes a great Valentine's Day gift. The Rosé and Brut Cuvée truffles hinted with rose petals are divinebut the packaging is also a fun gift idea. Each box comes with inscribed notesfrom the lovers and a magnifying glass to read the letters and inspect theintricate details of the truffles. The whole set is thoughtful, delicious and awonderful compliment to champagne.
Although the truffle collections are nice to try on theirown or with wines, they can be on the pricey side. More reasonable favoriteswould be the exotic candy bar collections or candy bar libraries. I’ve triedthem all but my top three would be the Naga,Barcelona and RedFire bars. One of the most popular is the Mo’s Bacon bar which sounds scary but is a great combination of savorybacon and sweet chocolate with a great crunch throughout.
If you want to impress your sweetheart or get a wonderful treat for yourself, these chocolates are worth it!
We gave samples to our editors at MyRecipes.com and this iswhat they said.
On Mo’s Bacon Bar(Dark Chocolate):
- “What we love about chocolate covered pretzels, but subtler.Love the salty hint and the surprising crunch. I could eat a pound of this.”
- “I was very skeptical at first, but you could only barelytaste the bacon and it did add a slight saltiness to the chocolate, which wasgood. Love that salty-sweet combo.”
- “Cool, sweet/salty flavor. The bacon doesn’t overpower thechocolate.”
On The GatsbyTruffle:
- “This is the best chocolate I’ve ever tasted! Dark chocolateAND champagne in one dessert? I can die a happy woman!”
- “On the first bite, it tastes like I’m eating a flower butit has a good aftertaste. It is very rich. It’s good after you get over thatfirst zap to your taste buds - no pun intended.”
- "Absolutely got the taste of the dryness of the Brut that matched perfectly withthe soft velvet of the rose and dark chocolate. Champagne, roses and chocolate? Can’t think ofa better match!"
On The Daisy:
- “I like the texture and the flavor of the middle whitechocolate – a little bit too flowery on the outside but great white chocolateaftertaste.”
Want more ideas for Chocolate?
Here are some suggestions: