Monday, August 3, 2009

Foodie Freebie Friday: Vosges Chocolate

Happy Monday to you! I hope your weekend was a fun one in your corner of the world. I've been enjoying my "staycation" in the kitchen and today's my last day to savor some free time. This week, I'm giving readers an opportunity to savor something too!

Who loves chocolate? Well for this week's Foodie Freebie Friday, I'm giving away some very special chocolates... Vosges! Vosges is a chocolate boutique here in Chicago that I frequent often since it's within walking distance from me. It's hard to resist their delicious and exotic chocolate bars because the unique flavors are so intriguing. If you've heard of Chocolate Covered Bacon, Vosges is a company that was one of the firsts to offer this sweet and salty confection. Read on to learn more about Vosges and Katrina Markoff who started this amazing chocolate boutique...

About Vosges Haut-Chocolat
Katrina Markoff utilizes the original methods of French confectionery artistry which she learned during her training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Having graduated with the Grand Dipl├╣me from Le Cordon Bleu and having worked extensively in France, Spain, Italy, Southeast Asia and Australia her collections of haut-chocolats have great, worldly inspirations. Inspired by her global apprenticeships, Vosges truffles have exotic influences of an "East meets West" theme.

An Indiana native with Macedonian roots, Markoff has that rare combination of artist and entrepreneur who's able to take unlikely ingredients and turn them into gold. Owner and creative force behind Vosges Haut-Chocolat, is a 1995 graduate of Vanderbilt University with degrees in Psychology and Chemistry. Three days following graduation Markoff left to pursue her dream of culinary arts in Paris. She studied for one year at Le Cordon Bleu and graduated with Le Grand Diplome in Cuisine and Pastry as well as degrees in Basic and Advanced Oenology.

From Paris, Markoff embarked on an 8 month tour around the world studying food. She worked from place to place, studying the indigenous cuisines of France, Spain, Italy, Thailand, Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, China, Australia and Hawaii.

She apprenticed at restaurants including the Hotel Crillon in Paris, France, El Bulli in Rosas, Spain, as well as Arzak, and Martin Berasategui both located in San Sebastian, Spain. She graduated from The Thai Cooking School at the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, and Chiva Som School in Hua Hin, Thailand. During her travels through Asia she was inspired by the local spice and food markets.

Based on these international experiences, she developed the concept of 'exotic truffles.' Fusing a gamut of indigenous spices, flowers, roots, herbs and liqueurs with premium chocolate, she created a unique tasting experience with each truffle. Beckoning consumers to step into the now, she crafted her culinary experience to embrace each sense of smell, taste, hear, touch and sight with every bite.
So this week, a lucky reader will receive a Mini Exotic Candy Bar Vosges Chocolate gift set! This gift set is a library of Mini Exotic Candy Bars that includes nine .5 oz. mini bars:

Exotic Chocolate Bars - Black Pearl Exotic Candy BarBlack Pearl
ginger + wasabi + black sesame seeds + dark chocolate

Exotic Chocolate Bars - Red Fire Exotic Candy BarRed Fire
Mexican ancho & chipotle chillies + Ceylon cinnamon + dark chocolate

Exotic Chocolate Bars - Gianduja Exotic Candy BarGianduja
almonds + caramelized hazelnut paste + deep milk chocolate

Exotic Chocolate Bars - Naga Exotic Candy BarNaga
sweet Indian curry + coconut + deep milk chocolate

Exotic Chocolate Bars - Creole Exotic Candy BarCreole
New Orleans chicory coffee + cocoa nibs + Sao Thome bittersweet chocolate

Exotic Chocolate Bars - Barcelona Exotic Candy BarBarcelona
hickory smoked almonds + Fleur de Sel grey sea salt + deep milk chocolate

Exotic Chocolate Bars - Oaxaca Exotic Candy BarOaxaca
Oaxacan guajillo & pasilla chillies + Tanzanian bittersweet chocolate

Exotic Chocolate Bars - Woolloomooloo Exotic Candy BarWoolloomooloo
Roasted & salted macadamia nuts + Indonesian coconut

Exotic Chocolate Bars - Matcha Exotic Candy BarMatcha
Japanese matcha green tea + deep milk chocolate

Read on for your chance to get this amazing set of deliciously unique chocolates!

Some guidelines:
- Giveaway is only for those who live in the United States - my apologies to my international readers!
- You must have a valid email address (within your comment or blog link) so that you can be contacted if you win.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment answering:

- What flavors do you like with chocolate? Caramel? Nougat? Bacon? Peanut Butter? Nuts? Chile? I'd love to hear what sweet or savory chocolate combos you like!

Thursday, August 6, 2009 at 12 midnight CST.

ONE WINNER will be randomly chosen by Random. Org's Interger Generator based on the number of your comment and will be announced on Friday, August 7, 2009. Good luck!