Discovered during a long layover in Chicago, Vosges Haut Chocolat (a play on the French words haut, meaning "upscale" and chocolat, yep, that's an easy one) was the perfect diversion and a whole new way to think about chocolate.
Katrina Markoff sounds like someone I would really like if I ever get the chance to meet her in person. After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu cooking academy in Paris, she travelled the world working in various food-related roles while gathering ideas for integrating spices with chocolate. The result is Vosges Haut Chocolat, her company that makes chocolate bars with exotic flavors such as wasabi, Tibetan goji berries and curry.
But the most famous, and likely most debated flavor, has to be the bacon and chocolate bar, available in both dark and deep milk chocolate. For anyone passionate about those two flavors, this seems like a match made in heaven, and it is a great pair - salty bacon bits in beautiful rich chocolate - but you have to try it yourself to decide. And while you're at it, you might try my favorite - the Red Fire Exotic Candy Bar, made with Mexican ancho and chipotle chilies with Ceylon cinnamon all wrapped up in a dense dark chocolate bar.
Available in the Chicago Airport (Concourse B, O'Hare), boutiques in downtown Chicago, New York and Las Vegas, as well as select Whole Foods (in Seattle, for one) and online (http://www.vosgeschocolate.com/).