The last cupcake apparently caught the eye of the good people at Vosges and to help give me some future inspiration they sent a nice little sampler package of their truffles, candy bars, and caramels. Rob and I were to say the least dancing naked on the table super awesome fun time happy. A large thanks goes out to Paige over at Vosges.
Being able to try all of these tasty treats was a real, well, treat. Personally, I always felt such trouble when I tried to pick just one of the bars. I even did one or two Google searches for candy bar reviews when I made an order on-line a year ago to try and figure out which one I wanted. So as Rob and I painstakingly sample and taste each one, we'll try to give you a nice rundown of their flavors in the next few posts.
This one is on the Vosges Exotic Caramels.
Mexican Guajillo Chilies, Licorice Root, Dark Chocolate, Organic Pumpkin Seed - Not too dark, not too sweet. It's delicious. The licorice root, like many of the flavors, is subtle but present though you may have to try to block outside noise so you can focus on it for the full effect. The chili kicks in pleasantly at the back with a bit of mild heat that stays with you for quite some time. It licks and caresses you; it's warming and I must admit, acts as a bit of an aphrodisiac (no exaggeration). As I type this I'm literally and actually feeling quite frisky right now after eating it.
*off screen pause to pounce on Rob*Canadian Maple Sugar, Maple Syrup, Walnuts, Dark Chocolate - I loved this one. Surely one of my faves (nothing beat the frisky caramel). It was familiar and what I expected it to be, but better. Very wintery. Very homey. Very relaxing with grandma over freshly made breakfast caramel. The walnuts and maple syrup were both defined and well balanced.
Pink Peppercorn, Rose Water, Dark Chocolate, Red Rose Petal - Pros: Very distinct pink peppercorn taste making the caramel peppery and fruity. Cons: Much as we tried, could not taste the rose water, and the red rose petal was more for show than anything.
Brazil Nuts, South American Cocoa Nibs, Dark Chocolate - Nice. I like brazil nuts. Very nutty. Nothing to out of the ordinary in my opinion.
Campari, Blood Orange, Dark Chocolate, Hibiscus Powder - "Pretty!" Yes, my first reaction. I like sparkle. I also like the dark flavors in this one. Slightly citric, slightly tart, very fun. Perfect to match with cocktails. The hibiscus powder is deliciously sour. Totally yummy.
Argentine Dulce de Leche, Costa Rican Cashews, Milk Chocolate - Milk and sweet. Caramel had a slight and pleasantly burnt taste. Very cashew-y.
Aboriginal Anise Myrtle, Dark Chocolate - Very subtle anise flavor. Undercurrents the chocolate well, but you forget you're eating a caramel, which isn't bad, but not sure if that's good either. Regardless, I enjoyed it very much.
Hawaiian Red Sea Salt, Milk Chocolate, Li Hing Powder - Red sea salt makes this caramel pop, and when backed up by the li hing (a product of dried plums that has a powerful salty/sweet/sour flavor) creates a very flavorful effect that makes your mouth water. Would love to work with li hing powder myself soon.
In Conclusion: All of these caramels do a fantastic job at balance. Nothing really overpowers other flavors. Some are a bit more subtle than others (some lost all together) but as a whole, I can't really fault any of these. At no point do the caramel or chocolate really ever step off stage, each flavor profile is there only to enhance them. The supporting cast make the stars of the show truly shine. All and all, they're superb and still live up to all my expectations.
Also, damn, that chili one goes to your head. Seriously.