Saturday, June 5, 2010

Vosges Calindia Bar

3oz (85g) bar
Ingredients: Dark chocolate (cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin), dried plums, cardamom, organic walnuts
10g sugar/32g serving (31.3% by wt.)

You've probably seen Vosges (pronounced something like “Vohzh” or “Vohj”) bars in upscale markets. Perhaps you heard of the company's famous bacon bars. If you picked one up, you more than likely gaped at the price. The Calindia Bar here was something like $7, which is more than I'm usually willing to spend on a 3 ounce bar, but my first impression was that the cardamom, walnut, and plum combination sounded rather novel, so I threw caution to the wind and went for it.

Second impression: The copy on the box is silly. “How to enjoy an exotic candy bar: Breathe...Engage your senses. Take 3 deep ujjayi breaths, quiet the chattering mind and be in the present moment.” It goes on and on from there, about how the chocolate should smell, sound and taste, which is theoretically useful, but it rubs me the wrong way, making me feel like I'm paying for marketing rather than quality. Also on the box are Vosges founder Katrina's headshot and the story of her privileged career path, from Vanderbilt to Le Cordon Bleu to “extensive world travel.” I would never fault her for how she's gotten where she is today, but to me the charmed life story and yoga-speak fall somewhere between “I want to attain that” (by buying the chocolate) and tone-deaf bragging (so I don't really want to give her more money).

Third impression: This is a perfectly nice looking bar of the large and thin variety, with a delicate scent of nuts and dried fruit.

Fourth impression: The flavors are delicate as well, more so than my personal taste would hope for. The walnut is the least interesting element to me, and also the one that predominates, if only slightly. The plum shows up in a light fruitiness, like a golden raisin; the pieces are small and not readily apparent, but large enough that one's teeth sometimes close on a bit of firm chewiness. The cardamom is a good match, quite subtle but easily identified by the scent that wafts up in the back of the throat and a taste on the tip of the tongue. The chocolate is light and soft, reminiscent of citrus rather than berries or wine. (The box recommends pressing a small piece of the chocolate to the roof of your mouth and letting it melt to smell the cardamom as well as the subtleties in the chocolate, and that does seem to work.)

Final verdict: I wouldn't pay $7 for this again, but it was different from my norm, and I'm glad I tried it.

Conclusion: Vosges Calindia Bar is light, subtly exotic, and expensive.

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