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I was on the phone the other day with Katrina Markoff, founder of the fashionable Chicago-based Vosges Haut-Chocolat, and she’s working on some exciting new green initiatives. The company got approved this June as an organic manufacturing facility and released its first organically produced product: peanut butter bonbons sprinkled with pink Himalayan salt and Fleur de Sel. We put them out in our test kitchen for a tasting today, and they're insanely yummy. I wish they were dark rather than milk chocolate, but the organic peanut butter is luxuriously creamy. Katrina says her line of exotic caramels will be certified organic in two weeks.
She’s also planning to build a LEED-certified chocolate "chocolate temple" that will have an organic roof garden and an artist-in-residence (who will of course use chocolate as a medium). Katrina says the project is still a few years away. More immediate is her current fixation with salty/sweet combinations. As a kid, Katrina loved dipping bacon in the maple syrup that accompanied her mom’s chocolate chip pancakes. That childhood memory inspired her new applewood-smoked-bacon and chocolate bar. “I’m realizing there is this real subculture of bacon lovers,” she says. “People are coming in and buying these in bulk.” She’s now thinking of following it up with the ultimate bacon caramel. I'll be keeping my eyes open for it when Vosges opens its New York store August 14.