My daughter bought for me a few bars of Vosges Haut-Chocolat which I have not heard about.
I thought she would get me some Belgian Chocolates or some unique varieties with 75% cocoa. But I got Vosges, and it was a bit of an experience – I mean, even just reading what was written on the chocolate wrappers……..
I first tried the “Red Fire Bar” which is 55% dark chocolate and very exotically described as “Mexican ancho y chipotle chillies Ceylon cinnamon”. Wow ! I am yet to see something like that on a chocolate !! This is really a chocolate embedded with some red chillies, which is very unique and might be an upsetting experience for some.
I liked the way in which Katrina (the founder of Vosges Haut-Chocolat) has described her life’s mission and the taste of her chocolates on the wrapper. This is probably the first time I read everything that was written on a chocolate wrapper, as the focus had always been to get to the chocolate – not read, but try to taste quickly. Can I be blamed ?
But then, Katrina has made an interesting chocolate story with the “Breathe”, “See”,”Smell”, “Snap”, “Taste” and “Sense” so eloquently described to incite the reader to finish reading quickly and pull out her chocolate ! She ends her story with this mention – “Peace, love and chocolate”, which is inspiring for chocoholics who also aspire for world peace.
I also tried the “Naga Bar” chocolate of Katrina, which is described as “sweet Indian curry coconut deep milk chocolate with 45% cocoa”. Not as good as the Fire Bar, but still different from the usual chocolate. I have one more of Katrina’s chocolates – the Habana Organic Milk chocolate with plantain chips ! Will try it soon, I guess……
I wish to complement Katrina on her inventions which I am sure will promote peace and love. Kudos Katrina !
14th January 2013
I got the enviable task of buying four different chocolates for my son, who named the brands without any apparent thinking rather quickly – LINDT, GUYLIAN, GODIVA and RITTER (the last one is my favourite, and he added so that I would not crib).
I continue to be amazed at the brand power of certain top notch brands in different product categories, and the pull that these brands exert on youngsters. While I do know that Godiva is an excellent brand, my preference has always been RITTER for many years. I am not going to say no to a small piece of Godiva of course, but I am not going to fall head over heels in love with that brand of chocolate. Same approach has characterized my preference for almost all kinds of product brands, and that has not changed over the years.
But the new younger generation is vastly different. They have already chosen their own brands much before they even get to use those brands. Not in chocolates of course – my son has obviously tried the above named four brands amidst others and decided that these are vastly superior to a Cadburys or a Milka brand which are more commonly available. And youngsters who are fortunate to travel around have firmer views on what they want – now and ultimately in each product category.
When I was a young person, I was not fortunate enough to have been exposed to global brands. In the sixties and seventies, India was rather insulated and products have to be smuggled in, or enjoyed when one travelled abroad. The only chocolate brand known was the Cadburys, the only car was the Ambassador, the only scooter was the Vespa or the Bajaj, and so on and so forth. Consumers got a raw deal those days, and they were the most neglected lot.
Now, there is a sea change. The most important people in the country are the individual consumers and in that large population, the most important segment is the teenage segment, followed by children below the age of thirteen, followed by the young women category (those who are more than nineteen years old). These folks control the emotions and the purse strings of their parents, or their grand parents or their fiances.
Coming back to the chocolate purchase, I ended up buying the following brands:
1. LINDT SWISS PREMIUM CHOCOLATE – “Milch Extra – Extra au lait – Swiss Milk Chocolate” – 300 grams
2. GODIVA Chocolatier – “Dark Chocolate Raspberry – Dark Chocolate with sweetened raspberry pieces” – 50% CACAO (meaning 50% cocoa) – 100 grams
3. GUYLIAN Belgian Chocolate No sugar added – “Belgian Dark Chocolate with sweetener” – 54% Cocoa – 100 grams
4. RITTER SPORT – “Raisins & Hazelnuts with sun-ripened California raisins” – 100 grams ; “Yogurt with a refreshing yogurt filling” – 100 grams ; “Extra Dark chocolate” – 100 grams
I struggled with the evaluation, with the constraint that I am not allowed to have more than one small square piece of the chocolate which I am evaluating. The others in the family enjoyed all the chocolates, there was no restriction.
After much thought and painful balancing, I am going against the grain in making a strong recommendation for the RITTER SPORT Extra Dark Chocolate, closely followed by the GODIVA Dark Chocolate with raspberry. I continue to reaffirm by faith in RITTER SPORT, which is also a cost-effective chocolate at just about SGD 3.20 per 100 grams – that translates to USD 2.60 and INR 125 (the Indian price is just a converted price after applying the current foreign exchange conversion rate – you would not be able to get a RITTER SPORT at the price of INR 125 in India). The GODIVA obviously is the most expensive at SGD 9.10 per 100 grams, almost three times that of the RITTER Chocolate. The GUYLIAN is not a bad option at SGD 7.50 per 100 grams. The lowest ranked one in my evaluation (although refuted strongly by my son who likes its milkiness) is the LINDT. It costed SGD 18.40 per 300 grams, or SGD 6.10 per 100 grams.
One does not buy chocolates after looking at the pricing like above – you buy the chocolates that you love, irrespective of the price. However, I believe the best value for money while being the best chocolate as well is the German-made RITTER SPORT.
Hence, Vijay’s award for the best chocolate goes to RITTER SPORT !
10th March 2012