After a while, everything is going to be tried, at least once. My brother, Matty Guru jr., has a penchant for saying “if you’ve thought of something, other people have as well”. Kind of a defeatist attitude, I think, and I don’t agree with it, but he’s probably right for the most part.
In the candy world, everyone’s gonna make a chocolate bar. A dark chocolate bar. Sea salt? Everyone’s doing it now, so let’s throw some of that shit on our next chocolate/caramel/whatever. Originality is hard to come by, and we all understand this, so we buy things that are similar to other things we’ve already tried, and…well….nothing seems too original anymore. Are we really impressed with anything anymore?
Vosges, the company that made the excellent Mo’s Dark Bacon Bar, sent a few other items for us to review recently. Today I’m gonna talk about the weirdo one, the one that at first glance just reeks of being created by a stoned 23 year old in his basement, while listening to Animal Collective and watching “The Matrix” (with the sound turned down, of course-stoners dig their music) at 2:15 am:
Chocolate covered tortilla chips coated in chile powder.
First off, the packaging is gorgeous. Carefully put together, it’s clear that the folks at Vosges aren’t in fact stoners, but instead are clever, thoughtful folks with a sense of humor. The outside of the package looks like these could be something that’s been around for years, sold in boutique shops in Mazatlan. No friends, this isn’t your garden variety trinket store fare- this is just plain weird stuff. Which is why I like the idea of it without even tasting it.
Now that we’ve established that the idea is clever, …how do they taste? Last night, I sampled these things. Hungry for something sweet, and always liking heat and salt, I opened up the package and took a few chips out. The first thing I noticed is that the “chips” looked amazing- milk chocolate coated triangles of love, with a bumpy red coating. That coating is ancho and chipotle chiles, freaks. Real deal heat.
I threw one in my mouth, and was at first confused. It took me a few seconds to discern the flavors, but then they hit me: luscious milk chocolate (REALLY good milk chocolate, I might add) was the dominant flavor, with a slightly crunchy center…followed by slow burn heat, authentic and as flavorful as the chiles themselves.
As I proceeded to throw them in my mouth, I still wasn’t sure exactly what I thought of them. I was expecting a harder tortilla chip (don’t get me wrong, they’re firm, they’re just not uber-thick) which threw me off. But pretty soon, it was clear that my body was WAY ahead of my mind-I was throwing those things down the old pie hole like nobody’s business.
The closest similarity I could draw would be chocolate covered popcorn, but with spice. It has that same savory/sweet dichotomy that is oh so frickin’ good, but it also has an edge that such standard fare doesn’t have-logic. All ingredients in this are used in Mexican cooking, which makes the complete package kind of neat-it’s like a new kind of Mexican dessert you might find served to you at a 4 star restaurant (sure, as a garnish, but nonetheless, I could mos def see French Laundry throwing one or two of these on the side of a hot chocolate cake).
Another thing I really like about the company Vosges Haut Chocolat, is that they use fresh cream for all of their products, which makes them all necessary to eat within @ 10 days of opening. There’s quality in here people, and you can taste it. This means that none of Vosge’s products are cheap, but you get what you pay for. If I had a complaint, it would be that some of the chocolate coating has fallen off of some of the chips. But I’m not going to complain about that, because it’s another indicator that these are real products put together by human hands, and that they’re fragile. Nothing wrong with that, and the taste isn’t altered by picking up a fallen piece of chocolate and a naked chip, so…whatever, I say.
You can pick up a tube here. They’d make an excellent gift for the chocolate lover in your life, as long as they like a little manageable heat. For me, I really like these, although I couldn’t help but think (don’t hate me!) what these would taste like with Ruffles inside instead of tortilla chips. Sacrilege, I know, but…I wanna try them! More crunch, more salt, more everything!
Here’s what I can tell you for sure: Vosges Haut Chocolat are creating stellar truffles (review of the organic peanut butter bon bons to come) in spades. But more interesting to me are their playful combination of sweet and savory and spicy. Check out the rest of their site for fun and fat making products, clearly not created by obnoxious stoners (or they’d eat them all, duh!).