When it comes to Valentine’s Day, gifting chocolates might seem cliche, until you discover Vosges Haut-Chocolat. From chocolates laced with bacon or beer to gluten-free or vegan varieties, Vosges has something for every chocolate lover.
I recently caught up with Chicago-based chocolatier and founder of Vosges Katrina Markoff to talk style and the best his and her chocolates for Valentine’s Day.
What motivated you to become a chocolatier? I’ve been baking almost my entire life. After I graduated from Vanderbilt University, I moved to Paris to attend Le Cordon Bleu. I then had the opportunity to work with famed chef Ferran Arià of El Bulli in Spain, and later to travel around the world. Once I got back to the U.S., I was inspired by my experiences and began taking what I learned, fusing spices, roots, flowers and herbs with the highest-quality cacao to launch Vosges Haut-Chocolat. More recently, I launched the Wild Ophelia brand to celebrate regional American flavors, and to support female entrepreneurs.
Some of your candies have interesting ingredients such as beer and bacon. What inspired these unique confections? The chocolates from both of my brands, Vosges and Wild Ophelia, are inspired by travel. Vosges focuses on global, exotic flavor profiles, while Wild Ophelia is rooted in American cuisine. I try to tell a story in each flavor I develop.
How do you come up with new flavor combinations for your chocolates? There is a method to the madness. It starts an inspiration, and then the experimenting starts. I’m at my best when I’m in the kitchen testing a new idea. I want each chocolate that I create to be an experience.
If you could create a celebrity-themed chocolate bar, who would be your muse and what would be the special ingredient? I would love to do a Stevie Nicks bar with pearl dust as an ingredient.
What is your most popular chocolate in the line? For Wild Ophelia, my new banana peanut butter cups; and for Vosges Haut-Chocolat, my Black Salt Caramel bar or the Exotic Truffle Collection.
For Valentine’s Day, what do you recommend as a gift to give the girl in your life and a gift to give the guy in your life? Wild Ophelia bars and peanut butter cups are perfect care package picks for a son or daughter in college, or as a Galentine’s Day gift for a female friend. Each purchase helps support female entrepreneurs. Also, the Vosges Bacon + Chocolate gift box is a favorite among our male customers, and you can never go wrong with our Renegade Heart box (above).
Image source: Katrina Markoff