Why can’t Vosges be like Tim Tams, and never run out? Is the paucity of Vosges chocolate in my life the universe’s way of telling me that it’s time I head back to the United States? Because, universe, I hear you loud and clear. However, what I don’t hear is you delivering me a plane ticket. (Or a visa.) All I hear, dear universe, is silence. Sad, chocolate-devoid, America-missing silence.
But I’ll keep listening, I promise. And until the stork delivers me a bundle of return flights to The Land Whose President Is Messing Up My Work’s Annual Conference, I’ll simply keep eating the chocolate.
Vosges Barcelona Bar
Vosges’ Barcelona Bar, comprised of hickory smoked almonds, sea salt, and 45% dark milk chocolate, was one of my favourite Vosges chocolate bars when I was at UVA. I bought it several times as endorphin-support during long hours of studying (hey, it was healthier than mainlining No-Doz like so many of my fellow students did), and as a result its flavour is intertwined in my mind with reading Maud Martha, writing essays about funeral practices throughout history, and hearing my suitemates pop popcorn in the tiny little microwave outside my door.
But that’s all beside the point. After all, a chocolate can’t really taste like:
Yellow jewels for everyday… She liked [the dandelions’] demure prettiness second to their everydayness; for in that latter quality she thought she saw a picture of herself, and it was comforting to find that what was common could also be a flower. (Maud Martha, p.2, Gwendolyn Brooks)
What this chocolate truly tastes like is smoky and caramelly almost-but-not-quite-dark-so-must-be-milk chocolate with hints of maple syrup and buttery toffee. The not-too-sweet 45% milk chocolate is shot through with a deep roasted nuttiness, a nuttiness that permeates even the bites that don’t hide almonds within.
The sea salt flickers at you like sparklers at a bonfire night, dazzling you for just a second before disappearing into the night. Wait, no, I mean “disappearing into the almond-strong caramel-tinged chocolate”.
Unlike some Vosges bars that I might mention, the Barcelona Bar tastes definitively of every flavour it’s purported to have. The smoked almonds are there, the sea salt is there, the chocolate is, quite obviously, there. Woodsy, salty, smoky, buttery, nutty, caramelly, delicious. Vosges Barcelona Bar is one of its most reliable and enjoyable creations, and one I’d happily pick up again, if only it existed in Australia.