Haut Chocolat

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Food for Thought is an ongoing column-with-a-conscience that focuses on exciting new discoveries in the foodie world.

Savoring exotic Vosges’ chocolate means experiencing the finest ingredients the world over, while embracing the oddity and deliciousness of unique combinations. Vosges Haut Chocolat owner and chocolatier, Katrina Markoff, personally chooses every spice, flower and chocolate used in their Chicago-based kitchen.

“I began experimenting with bacon and chocolate at the tender age of six, while eating chocolate chip pancakes drenched in Aunt Jemima syrup, as children often do,” recalls Katrina in a recent conversation with Bamboo Magazine. “Beside my chocolate-laden cakes laid three strips of sizzling bacon, just barely touching a sweet pool of maple syrup. And then, the magic: just a bite of the bacon was too salty, and I yearned for the sweet kiss of chocolate and syrup, so I combined the two. Really, what doesn’t taste better with bacon?”

The Vosges Haut-Chocolat mission is to create a luxury chocolate experience rooted in a sensory journey of bringing about awareness to indigenous cultures through the exploration of spices, herbs, roots, flowers, fruits, nuts and chocolate. In addition to making delicious chocolate, the company has adopted an impressive list of green initiatives. Their facility is powered by 100% renewable energy and has been approved as an organic manufacturing facility. The new organic chocolate is also Rainforest Alliance certified.

Vosges’ most innovative green practice is their partnership with Creative Pitch, a company that coordinates the donations of materials to art educators, such as old display boxes, truffle trays and ribbon scrap from participating companies, which would otherwise be thrown away.

Katrina has made conscious gifting easy by continuously sourcing sustainable and biodegradable packaging materials. All candy bar boxes are recyclable, and, in 2011, they will be made from 100% recycled material. Any plastic used on boxes or lids is made from compostable cornstarch.

“We are dedicated to delivering sustainable luxury chocolates through each purple box,” she says. It feels good to know that luxury chocolate in luxurious packaging can be so good in so many ways.

Katrina Markoff graduated with the Grand Diplôme from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She worked extensively in France, Spain, Italy, Southeast Asia and Australia, developing her chocolates. Vosges Haut-Chocolat is certified as a women’s business enterprise through the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Katrina resides in Chicago with her adorable son, Rohan.

Naga :: sweet Indian curry + coconut + deep milk chocolate

Black Pearl :: ginger + wasabi + black sesame seeds + dark chocolate

Goji :: goji berries + pink Himalayan salt + deep milk chocolate

Bacon :: applewood smoked bacon + Alder wood smoked salt + milk or dark chocolate

image courtesy of Vosges Haut-Chocolat | Mo’s Milk Chocolate Bacon Bar: applewood smoked bacon, Alder wood smoked salt and milk chocolate