Between the Hershey bar, Cadbury’s best, and the little classic M&Ms that are still the best out of their varieties, you’ve got to say that milk chocolate is the popular king of all chocolates. Chocolate has been around for centuries, but the idea of adding milk to the mix to make milk chocolate came about only in the late 19th century, when a Swiss chocolatier changed the popular drink chocolate milk into the solid bar of milk chocolate 🙂 While most chocolate purists will say that the darker the chocolate, the better the quality, and the better the taste; this may be true, but taste is all about perspective, and people love the creaminess and sweetness the added milk brings to the chocolate table.
But don’t go right out to the local Duane Reade and just pick up a Hershey’s Bar! The mass-produced milk chocolate bars in the United States are notorious for being full of synthetic materials, and are comparatively some of the worst-tasting milk chocolate anywhere in the world. It’s because of the lax U.S. regulations on the amount of cocoa product a bar needs to consider itself “chocolate”: it’s 10% here while the U.K. requires 20% and the E.U. requires 25%. Instead of using costly cocoa liquors and butters, American companies like Hershey use chemicals like butyric acid to help make their milk chocolate bars. It causes a slight tangy, sour flavor to chocolate that Americans have become accustomed to. (You can really taste it in cheaper chocolates around Halloween; blech!) And anyone who’s ever had a Cadbury bar from across the Atlantic knows how good real milk chocolate can be…and also knows how difficult it can be to find one in the States! I recently went on a vacation cruise to Bermuda and stocked up on some U.K.-manufactured Cadbury bars; best souvenirs I got all trip!
But if you want high-quality milk chocolate for National Milk Chocolate Day, never fear: there are still some great American chocolatiers, right here in New York City. Head to Vosges Haut Chocolat, a fairytale world full of different, appealing, and off-centre chocolate flavors. They specialize in unconventional flavorings in their milk chocolate bars, including such savory and spicy additives as ginger, wasabi, Indian curry, and ancho chili. It brings chocolate to a whole different level: still sweet, still a confectionary treat, but the spices give it a depth of flavor that elevates it to culinary genius. Their milk chocolate is made with all fresh ingredients, every day, so preservatives and other chemicals in mass-produced chocolates are unnecessary. It can get pretty expensive when you start dropping all the $7.50-a-bar chocolate flavors into your shopping basket, but once you bite into their inventive new flavors–that still allow the milk chocolate to be smooth, sweet and creamy, the way it should be–your tongue will definitely thank you!
1100 Madison Ave (between 82nd St & 83rd St)
“Vosges outputs a wild choco-fest of deliciousness, which for the adventurous explorer repays tenfold. The quality of the chocolate is out of this world, and gets paired with marvelous things that wind up expanding your notion of what chocolate is for. Try the Black Pearl (ginger, wasabi, black sesame), Oaxaca, Naga (sweet Indian curry, coconut) and Red Fire (ancho, chipotle and cinnamon). The Mo’s Bacon Bar and Creole Bar, in dark and milk will tantalize the strongest willpower.”–CBS New York
“At this self-consciously glam spot, everything is glossy white, with a few bursts of purple. Swoopy plastic chairs line a marble-top communal table. “Exotic drinking chocolates” arrive in delicate flutes. Savories on offer include an elf-hat-shaped truffle embedded with taleggio cheese and a chocolate bar studded with bacon, an homage to smoke and salt.”–New York Magazine
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“Vosges is THE place for milk chocolate lovers. And this location is great — you can order a latte, a few pieces, and sit down for a little piece of chocolate heaven. Try: – Barcelona Bar (deep milk chocolate [a wonderful concept] with sea salt and roasted almond). If you haven’t tried the chocolate and salt combo, do yourself a favor — try it. – Naga Bar (deep milk chocolate with curry). – White chocolate anything.”–Heather W.
“With that out of the way, the chocolate is AMAZING. I purchased the Mo’s Bacon Bar which is, applewood smoked bacon, alderwood smoked salt, and deep milk Chocolate. YUM YUMMY. The combination may sound strange but it works. So well. They had samples out of the Woolloomooloo Bar which is roasted and salted Macadamia Nuts, Indonesian Coconut, hemp seeds and deep milk Chocolate. I was skeptical about the hemp seeds, but once my husband and I tried this bad boy, we were sold.”–A M D.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!