Date: September 2016
If we’ve learned anything from 12 for 12, it’s that everyone has a story—and all great brands are born from great imagination. Chicago’s Vosges Haut-Chocolat is no exception, with hundreds of stories—each more delicious than the next. Founded in 1998 by Le Cordon Bleu trained chef, Katrina Markoff, and inspired by Place des Vosges in Paris, Vosges strives to tell stories about the world through chocolate. Blending premium chocolates with exotic ingredients from around the globe, every piece of Vosges celebrates culinary diversity, unique flavors and unparalleled passion.
The 64,000 square-foot headquarters of Vosges Haut-Chocolat, affectionately known as the Chocolate Temple, sits at the intersection of Oakley and Wellington, along the North Branch of the Chicago River. Like all things made by Markoff, her Chocolate Temple is a rich, romantic and sensuously adorned modern Victorian oasis, as carefully infused as her chocolate. With Vosges’ trademark deep purple palette, iron latticework, vintage newsprint wallpaper, rich wood, chandeliers and period artifacts, it’s more respite from the troubles of the modern world than gourmet chocolate factory—that during peak season ships more than 3,500 packages a day.
Offering an impressive array of products, from truffles to bars to caramels, Vosges uses about one and a quarter million pounds of chocolate each year. And though they produce six and a half million chocolate bars and two million truffles every year, just one bite can slow the soul and transport the senses. This is their secret ingredient, and each of their six retail locations (across Chicago and New York City), resonate the romantic decadence and slow indulgence of their brand. It’s why their chocolate is more extraordinary sensory experience than simple sugar fix, and why chocolatier Katrina Markoff is constantly creating and revising new recipes in her Innovation Lab.
In addition to harnessing the power of storytelling to open minds, spirits and palates through, as Markoff calls it, “peace, love, and chocolate,” Vosges only sources its ingredients from organic, sustainably grown, and non-GMO farms around the world. In addition, they are a Certified WBE (Woman Business Enterprise), 100% renewable energy operated, and the best way to Travel the World through Chocolate™.
In this episode of 12 for 12, Adam finally slows down, bites into a delicious piece of Vosges Haut-Chocolat and is transported to a world of pure imagination.