tea, cherries, and milk chocolate? that is so in vosges!

Or in vogue, rather. En Vogue? Nah, not them.

On my most recent trip to the Old Port Candy Co. in Portland, Maine, I picked up a bar that I knew would balance the dullness of the two Coastline Confections bars that I reluctantly decided to try. What is this winner, you ask? Well, it could be none other than Vosges Haut-Chocolat’s Cherry Rooibos Bar, bien sûr!

A mix of 45% cacao content milk chocolate, Michigan cherries, and (African) rooibos tea, this bar promises to delight anyone who likes dried fruit in their chocolate. I am one of those people, and after the general disinterestedness of Coastline Confections (and me) in their uninspired chocolate, I was so ready to be delighted.

And sure enough, I was delighted. I would like to mention now that this was yet another Vosges bar that couldn’t remain unbroken before it reached my hands. When I last reviewed Vosges (Bapchi’s Caramel Toffee Bar), I mentioned this same thing. To quote me (world famous orator): “My only complaint is that despite being packaged in a box, I haven’t yet opened a single intact bar.” For this bar, it didn’t prove to be a problem, as there was nothing ooey or gooey that oozed on out of the innards. Still, it’s disappointing. Has anyone else found this to be a problem, or is it just me?

In preparation for tasting this bar (actually my second round of tasting it), I brewed up a cup of Teavana’s Rooibos Rose Garden tea, which was a gift from someone so many years ago that I should be embarrassed not only that I still have some, but that I continue to drink it. This should prove that the gift didn’t go unappreciated; rather, it may be the longest-utilized food-based gift product anyone has ever given. So sit back with a cuppa, and join me in tasting this bar.

When the packaging is opened, a pleasing aroma flows out to greet your chocolate-hungry nostrils (yikes). It smells like cherries. It smells like chocolate. It smells like cherries and chocolate. I was pleased.

[Sip tea]

Any tea present is not apparent in this first stage of meet and greet with the chocolate. To be fair, so that you know as much extra, relatively unimportant information as I know, the Rooibos tea (in this bar sourced from Argo Tea in Chicago) is an African shrub from the Cedarberg mountain region of South Africa. I’m quoting the chocolate box here. To speak in Latin, as I love to pretend to do, this species is Aspalathus linearis, and is caffeine free when dried for tea, which Vosges founder Katrina Markoff chooses to label as “bonus!” Hmm.

[Sip caffeine-less tea]

The chocolate itself is a bit dull, its sheen having worn off somewhere between Chicago, Portland, Bangor, my mouth, my chocolate drawer, my mouth again, and wherever it was in this chain of custody that it decided to shatter into many pieces. It does snap nicely though (if that matters to you and you chocolate-enjoying experiences).

Katrina is a big fan of telling her chocolate buyers to rub their thumbs on the surface of the chocolate to release its inner aromas. She mentions an “undercurrent” of vanilla, and toasted almonds. I should mention an undercurrent of seasonal allergies that are making it hard for me to sense such delicate matters. What I do find intriguing is that when I go through this process of warming up the chocolate with my thumb, some inevitably melts onto it. When I taste this chocolate, it tastes slightly darker in cocoa content than when I take a bite out of the bar.

[Slurp remaining rooibos tea, before switching to all-time favorite Tea Source Gold. Enjoy caffeinated nature of second cuppa.]

In tasting this bar, it is overwhelmingly cherry. Cherry taste. Dried cherry texture. Cherry aroma. Lingering cherryness.

Where is the rooibos?

Well, I think I catch glimpses of it with certain bites. Taste glimpses, that is. The intriguingly weird taste of rooibos may come across as an acidic undertone, and if I didn’t think this through I would suggest that this was merely the dried cherries. They are everywhere in this bar, even protruding out the underside. Making my way through the bar, I did have one strong flavor of rooibos after letting the chocolate dissolve fully, which seemed out of place when compared with the rest of the tasting experience. Finally, I can’t tell if the crunchy bits that threaten to dislodge my fillings (waaahh) are cherry bits or tea leaves. Since I only see cherry nibbinses when peering at the bar’s interior, I would guess that much of this crunch is cherry. But hopefully, the tea leaves are hiding out and steathily attacking my mouth in tandem.

Eating a Vosges bar is kind of a rollercoaster ride. Be it because there are so many incorporated flavors, or a poor distribution of those flavors, I’m not sure. I’m guessing it’s a mix of both, especially across batches. Look at The Food Buster‘s post on this bar: this reviewer found little to no aroma, and poorly distributed, lacklusterly-flavored cherries. That’s a drastically different bar. I think that across the internet’s many delightful chocolate blogs, folks have trouble coming to definite conclusions about which tastes shine through in particular Vosges bars. I think this is kind of cool. Perhaps I will review this bar again sometime and it will be a totally different experience.

Get in Vosges, everyone’s doing it:

Vosges Haut-Chocolat Corporate Offices

2211 N. Elston Ave., Suite 203
Chicago, IL 60614

http://www.vosgeschocolate.com/

And again, for your all candy needs:

Old Port Candy Co.

422 Fore St
Portland, ME 04101

Summer Hours
Monday-Thursday 10h00-21h00
Friday/Saturday 10h00-22h00
Sunday 11h00-18h00

Winter Hours
Monday-Thursday 10h00-18h00
Friday/Saturday 10h00-21h00
Sunday 11h00-18h00

http://www.oldportcandyco.com/

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6 thoughts on “tea, cherries, and milk chocolate? that is so in vosges!

  1. For the record, I LOVE En Vogue. LOVE them. Kevin and I are going on an epic road trip to Wisconsin next weekend, and I think we may have to make a pit stop in Portland to stock up on sugary (especially your recommended chocolatey) delights for the long hours on the Interstate. I really enjoy your chocolate reviews, even though I know next to nothing about chocolate.

    1. Brianne: That is too funny. I’ve never met anyone who has told me that they love En Vogue, but now I feel a desire to use that question to find out who I should befriend or not. Those who are bold enough to proclaim love for the group will be immediate pals with me. Because I say so.

      I am oh so very incredibly excited for you and your upcoming road trip! While I will shortly be making some travels of my own, I am jealous of anyone who gets to go anywhere. Especially when they’ll be within spitting distance of my home state:) If you do want to make some sweet purchases in Portland, I would also recommend stopping at LeRoux Kitchen. They have a very decent chocolate selection as well, including several Vosges bars. Enjoy your trip, and the many many hours on those boring interstates that I know so well. And loathe so much! Epppiccccc!

      Victoria: When I first read your comment, I read “a lot” as in a specified amount, or one lot of chocolate. I was thinking you bought a huge box or case of these bars, and I was impressed. I know you love your chocolate, but that would be amazing dedication to your craft! Now I see that you probably mean a lot. As in a lot. As in that common phrase that everyone uses all the time. This is definitely a bar that I could see devouring in massive quantities. It was well-rounded, enjoyable, and oh so eatable! Interesting Christmas pick too (whether on your part, or Vosges’, or both).

      Hannah: You should not be hurt by American chocolate reviews as you have countless interweb cronies who are happy to ship your heart’s desires to you, and are merely awaiting your beck and call. Does my flowery prose inspire imagery of young and happy female postal service employees in tutus twirling beautiful bountiful boxes of chocolate all being shipped to you? It could happen.

      That is wonderful that your wonderful brother brought wonderful you back a bunch of wonderful Vosges bars. See? Beck. and. call. Those Vosges bars aren’t cheap! I am amazed and jealous that you have eaten nearly nothing but intact bars. One day, Vosges, one day.

      I used to drink Rooibos tea a lot too. Now that I’m at the bottom of this gifted vat of leaves though, it’s hard to finish. And girl please, you have pictures of hungry lions and crazy L.A. dance ninjas: my photos do not outdo yours!

  2. Interesting. I picked up a lot of these in December and, like you, found very little tea flavor and just a bit of tea crunching texture. I did enjoy the cherry distribution, flavor, and texture. My family devoured these at Christmas.

  3. I’m really looking forward to this bar! Normally, I’m completely hurt by American chocolate reviews because thy’re out of reach, but my wonderful brother brought back almost every Vosges bar for me earlier this year :) I used to drink Rooibos all the time so can’t wait to see what you come up with! Of course, you photos outdo mine by abouta million! :P

    P.S. Funny, I’ve eaten almost every flavour of Vosges in recent eyars (bar the new ones like this), have brought them back in suitcases, and they’ve almost always been completely in tact, even the marzipan and peanut butter ones!

  4. I thoroughly enjoy your detailed review…you’re intense!! Haha, love it! I have to say I kind of like it when chocolate bars come broken…bc I have the strange habit of taking my time, starting with the smallest piece and then working up my way in anticipation to the biggest piece…I’m a weirdo.

    What I HATE, however, is melted bars. Ew.

    1. Sophia: I figure when I’m spending anywhere between $5 and $9 on a bar of chocolate, it deserves quite a bit of my time, love and attention. And roughly 800 words as well:)

      I like the thought of starting with the smallest piece and working up to that biggest piece, but I would only be down with that if I knew I liked the bar ahead of time – what if you got stuck with a dud?? It would be a big piece bummerrrrrr. And yeah, no way to melted bars. Luckily it’s really cold here in Maine right now: I could see my breath outside tonight! No melted chocolate bars here.

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