This Little Piggy Tastes Like Chocolate...
Remember the days when a chocolate bar would be plain or with nuts? If you were raised on Cadbury, you'd get raisins thrown into the mix for fun, but the choices were simple and few.
The 21st century has big things in mind for chocolate; in just a few years, brown bars have morphed from plain to "infused," with everything from bread crumbs to wasabi powder making an appearance on the ingredient list. To wit: Dagoba (now owned by Hershey) does bars filled with raspberries and rosehips, goji berries and currants and the calming duo of lavender and blueberries.
But by far the most esoteric I've seen and sampled come from Vosges Haut-Chocolat, the Chicago-based company owned by Katrina Markoff, for whom a primary inspiration is the music of the late Bob Marley. Markoff's line of 14 bars, which launched in August, 2007, includes far-out combinations such as dried olives and white chocolate, ginger, wasabi, sesame seeds and dark chocolate -- and perhaps, the one that stops everyone in their tracks -- milk chocolate and applewood-smoked bacon.
While researching the world of bacon for a recent blog post, I got wind of Vosges's "Mo's Bacon Bar," ($7.50) but stopped short of buying one for a variety of reasons, including culinary trepidation.
But last weekend, while perusing the aisles at my neighborhood Whole Foods, I stumbled upon Vosges's latest baco-bit: The
chocolate flying pig, a bacon-studded and smoked salted piggy made of solid milk chocolate that is attached to a purple ribbon cord, like a soap on a rope. Now this was just too strange to ignore, even at a very steep 13 bucks (for 1.5 ounces, no less), but hey, somebody's gotta do it.
After several minutes wrestling with the plastic wrapping, I finally extricated my piggy from its pink box and took a bite out of her leg (aka the ham). A fan of salty and sweet (I adore chocolate covered pretzels and fleur de sel caramels), I had higher hopes for this swine, but honestly, she left me unimpressed, with a lardy mouth feel that needed a palate cleanser pronto. I wondered, as I nibbled on Markoff's Creole bar, with chicory and cocoa nibs, if darker chocolate would have been a better match?
So here's what I want to know: Do you think chocolatiers should be putting everything but the kitchen sink into their creations or leave a good thing alone. Take the wacky choco poll and weigh in on this debate. Oink, oink.
P.S. If you don't live near a Whole Foods, all Vosge bars (and piggies) are sold online.
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