Vosges Haut Chocolate's Caramel Marshmallows are so orgasmically good that it took me five tries to type "marshmallows" just now.
Okay. Center. Concentrate. Down, girl.
First off, these things are huge. 1.5-inch square by 1-inch deep huge. They come only 9 to a box, but I cannot imagine attempting to eat more than one in a go, and probably not more than one per day, so honestly that's okay. (This is Vosges' photo, not mine.)
I take a messy first bite, and the salt and sweet of the caramel hits me first, followed by the vanilla of the marshmallow and then the richness of the chocolate, and then more salt from the toffee and roasted earthiness from the nuts. It tastes like an ice cream sundae -- so much so that my mouth misses the cold bite of ice cream while I'm eating it. The components are each fine unto themselves -- the chocolate deep & slightly bitter, the toffee light & crunchy, the marshmallow and caramel each sweet but not cloying -- but tasted together they just make more sense than they do apart. Candy logic!
The chocolate coating breaks around the edges and bits of nut and toffee go tumbling as I take each bite, but for the most part it holds itself together surprisingly well for something so precarious. The texture is just the slightest bit odd -- the marshmallow is firmish and a little chewy, and the caramel is the gooier, meltier of the pair, which isn't what I was expecting -- I think I'd like it better if the marshmallow were textured more like fluff.
But it's lovely nonetheless, a golden ratio of sweet to salty and rich to bright. It's from Vosges' comfort foods line, and it's exactly comfort: it's summer vacation, it's fairgrounds, it's that long-lost recipe of your grandmother's. This would be a perfect mid-winter gift for some sweet person who could use a bit of warmth (and a sugar rush).
They come shrink-wrapped for freshness (the packaging says to consume them within 2 weeks), and in a sturdy, lavender-colored box that you could probably find a second life for. As I said, they come only 9 to a box -- and each box is $27.00, and they ship via UPS (aka not cheaply). So they're maybe not for people on strict budgets.
Someone more thriftily minded who wanted something Haut might order a couple 4-piece party-favor boxes of truffles (look for the "Asian" boxes) or caramels. Price breakdown on these mini boxes is $2.38/piece, as opposed to the $3.00/piece you'd pay for the privilege of receiving a larger & fancier box. While you can't sample their whole catalogue this way, you can try 12 of their most popular truffles and 9 different kinds of caramels, so it's not a bad deal. Also worthwhile are their full-size Exotic Candy Bars, which cost $2.50/oz for the non-organic bars. I, the dark chocolate fiend, most recommend their milk chocolate ones, specifically Gianduja and Wolloomooloo.
Overall, I find these schmancy chocolate-covered caramel marshmallows worth the monetary and caloric splurge! Especially as a once-in-awhile treat to be shared with friends and other loved ones.
p.s. -- You'll pay upwards of 25 American dollars for the opportunity, but Vosges can get some of these suckers to you by Valentine's Day if you order with 2-day shipping before Wednesday, February 11th, 1:00pm Central time. They ship from Chicago, so Ground MIGHT also work too if you're in the East/Midwest, but no promises.