The blurb on the back of this Vosges Bapchi’s Caramel Toffee Bar explains that it was inspired by the toffee made by Vosges’ creator’s grandmother, whom said creator called “my Bapchi”.
For a moment, I let myself giggle over the nickname “Bapchi”, which sounds roly-poly and bouncy and scrunchy to my mind. But then I remembered that my paternal grandmother, whose first name was Dorothy and whose last name was a colour, was called Mickey, Micksticks, and The Mickster by her grandchildren. I have no idea why. And my maternal grandparents, whose last name starts with T and who have lived in Canberra for the past 15 years, have always been called Grandma and Grandpa Sydney because, a very long time ago, they lived in Sydney.
Suddenly, “Bapchi” doesn’t sound as silly anymore.
Vosges Bapchi’s Caramel Toffee Bar
Like almost every Vosges chocolate I’ve reviewed here, this particular flavour came to me courtesy of my brother’s trip to America earlier this year. Comprised of “sweet butter toffee”, walnuts, pecans, and 45% deep milk chocolate (which is 2% more than Cadbury’s “dark” chocolate Melts, cough cough), I half-wondered whether this Vosges bar might be an assault of cloying sweetness. Particularly when I saw that the nuts made up a mere 2% of the bar’s ingredients.
I unwrapped the chocolate, and saw a myriad flecks of toffee and nuts peeking out at me from just below the roan-red-brown surface of the milk chocolate. So far, so good (Vosges has a habit of creating chocolate where the star ingredients are barely noticeable).
I breathed in, and my thoughts whizzled: “Oooh! Caramel, yes, but fudge and something else… Pecan sandies? Wait, what are pecan sandies? What on earth am I talking about? Pralines! Pralines, that’s what I meant; this reminds me of that warm, luscious smell of freshly-made pecan pralines in Savannah’s old-fashioned candy stores…”
Eventually, I climbed off my aroma horse and placed a square of the chocolate in my mouth. KAPOW! (Yes, I occasionally read old-school superhero comic books as a child.) The first bite was creamy and sweet, but also immediately sparkled with deep notes of buttery roasted toffee, which I like to call “deliciousnessdeliciousnessdeliciousness” but could also be described as burnt-sugar-clotted-cream-nut-brittle-heaven hidden in crackling, dissolving, slight-salted toffee crispiness.
The 45% “deep” milk chocolate was exactly that: nicely chocolate-y and threaded through with notes of clotted cream, salted butter, palm sugar and, again, those recurring notes of nut brittle and burnt toffee, all helped along by the tiny fragments of pecan and walnuts dispersed through the bar.
As I ate more of this scrumptious creation, I all but forgot my ingrained preference for dark chocolate. I instead embraced the flavours swirling through my mind, everything from the aforementioned brittle and deep toffee notes to buttery brioche and croissants and vanilla-flecked marscapone, all enveloped in smooth milk chocolate.
Dear Bapchi, you done good (and I language English utter proper speaky KAPOW). I would like an endless supply of this Vosges bar, please. And if you could find a way to magick the dairy out of it, all the better. However, unless “Bapchi” is code for Fairy Grand-godmother, that’s probably not going to happen anytime soon.
Question Time: Do you have any obscure nicknames for your grandparents?