This week, I’m in Chicago. The last time I was in Chicago, I visited Vosges Haut-Chocolate. Here’s a little of what I saw during my visit:
Toffee is made in small batches, then cut by hand, very carefully, on a heated table to keep it malleable.
Nearby are racks piled high with freshly-cut toffee, hardened but still warm. When I pop a piece in my mouth, my tongue is coated in sweet, intensely caramel, buttery candy that sticks in my teeth.
Dried rose petals, ready to be sprinkled atop truffles.
Katrina, Vosges’ founder, started the company with the concept “travel the world through chocolate.” A walk through the kitchens felt something like a voyage, too: we passed big bowls of bacon destined for chocolate bars or caramels, bins of hibiscus powder, bags of delicate French fleur de sel sea salt.
The main office space.
The saris draped from the ceiling are from Katrina’s wedding. The effect is elegant, dramatic, vibrant, luxurious. Those are all words I would use to describe their chocolates, too.
A shelf in Katrina’s office.
Katrina’s office features plenty of natural light, a view of the Chicago river, and shelves holding all manner of stuff. My tour guide Emily, the director of new product development, described Katrina as “a collector of things.” The upright white object in the center is a bunny. Its head is missing because it was being used as a model for Easter lollipops.