by Marina Rybak
I fell in love with Place des Vosges the moment I entered the majestic square in the historic Marais district in Paris. It was love at first glance. I felt right at home and soon after I found a flat, I called my own, just few blocks away on Rue St. Gilles. Hardly missing a day, I spent most of my mornings at Ma Bourgogne, a local café, nestled under the arcades on one of the square’s corners. Dreamily I would gaze into the gardens in the center of the square, intending that “if I ever would want to experience heaven on earth, I would live on Place des Vosges”. Naturally, when I had my first encounter with a Vosges chocolate bar years later in New York, I was drawn to it, being curious about its name and tempted by its exotic, intriguing flavor (richly dark and fiery with a hint of chili).
I have to admit that I often contemplated on the subject of chocolate in general, realizing that I do not know anyone who can resist this edible delicate perfection. Its invention is an ultimate gift to humanity and the art of seduction is incomplete without it. Evolving into a tender and sweet token of love and affection, it is universally embraced by all. The alchemy of passion and chocolate unlocks the senses, forging such an intense pleasurable state of body and soul that one would only willingly and happily surrender to it. Many of us have a personal relationship with chocolate, holding our favorite Chocolatiers in great esteem.
I rekindled my attraction to Vosges Haut-Chocolat just few weeks ago, passing by Vosges boutique on Madison Avenue on the cold winter day. Lured in by its bright and cheerful windows, all I wished for was a cup of spicy cocoa to transcend the time and space of the “big chill”. I was in luck. My heart started to melt and my spirits to lift with the first sip of the Aztec Elixir, truly a drink of the gods. Soothed by this smooth delicious concoction, I was coming to life, enjoying the vibrancy of purple and pink packaging inside the store. Colorful Valentine Collection, inspired by hand-written love letters was beaming on display. I was informed that the actual love letter writing events within the store were to follow. At last, during this serene pause I was about to learn in greater detail the special chocolate connection to Place des Vosges and why Vosges chocolate morsel is so extraordinary.
It was at the famous L’Ambroisie, Michelin-rated three-star restaurant, situated on Place des Vosges (and only few steps from Ma Bourgogne), where Katrina Markoff, the founder of the company had her “chocolate aha moment”. For a culinary student at Le Cordon Bleu it was life-changing experience and the birth of her innovative, story-telling concept Travel the World through Chocolate. With artistic foundation, inquisitive mind and a global view at its core Vosges Haut–Chocolat is not only a tasty wonder, but an ecologically and socially responsible organic manufacturer and a conscientious citizen of the planet. With such values like “we strive to deliver with grace in all that we do” this company makes our world a better place and is genuinely an inspiration. I am thrilled to travel the distance with Vosges chocolates, and better yet with each bite I am content to remain on Place des Vosges.