Saturday, March 19, 2011
Vosges: Black Pearl
Vosges has about a million bars, and this is one that I've not blogged about yet. Wonja got this bar for me at Dave's Fresh Pasta in Somerville, MA -- they sell the mini Vosges bars, which are only about 0.5 oz. Those provide a great way to taste the chocolate without paying $10 or whatever they're charging for the 3 oz. bars these days. Vosges bars are expensive but they're always good. Except when they're not.
Vosges: Black Pearl
Cocoa content: 55%
Notable ingredients: wasabi, ginger, black sesame seeds
Every Vosges bar has a little anecdote about the inspiration behind the bar's flavors. You can read these on the website. The inspiration for this bar is Japan -- wasabi is presented as the base flavor around which the rest of the bar is designed, but I actually thought the taste of ginger was most pervasive. The wasabi in this bar wasn't like the nostril-clearing hotness that you get with the actual wasabi mustard that accompanies sushi. But it had that hard-to-describe wasabi taste: vinegary and slightly sour, tasting of preservation and earthy like cabbage. Are people going to give me a hard time if I talk about umami? I'll give it a rest.
The black sesame seeds were a nice touch, too. They were left whole so they provided a little bit of toasted-tasting crunch to break up the already snappy chocolate. The only thing that I didn't love about this bar was the cocoa content. 55% seems so non-committal. Go milk or go dark -- or go home, because I shudder to think of how white chocolate would mix with wasabi.
I think the best Vosges bar I've had to date was the Naga bar, which is inspired by Indian spice combinations, or the Peanut Butter Bonbon bar (which clearly needs no inspiration, nor an explanation thereof.) Next up on my short list is the Black Salt Caramel bar, which marries black Hawaiian sea salt with burnt sugar caramel. This bar was delicious in terms of the flavors but could have used a more decisive proportion of cocoa, I think. It gets a B+.