Meet Katrina: Creatrix, Alchemist, Chocolatier

"My Mother is beckoning to me from the back porch. “Time to come in,” she calls. She has found our house filled with gifts; I’ve baked her dozens of cakes in my Easy Bake Oven. Even at an early age, food was my way of communicating. It allowed me to show gratitude to others and was the language I used when I was too shy to use words of the heart.

I was in nature when I wasn’t baking, picking up Indiana stones and rocks that called to me as I went. Between the dawn and when she called me in at night, I marveled at the land. Everything I found there seemed to have meaning. It was filled with magical signs, and in my mind’s eye, only I had the power to interpret their meaning.

When it was time for college, I found my way to Vanderbilt. I studied chemistry and intended to become a doctor. But the rhythms of the Universe had other plans for how healing would become a part of my work, and three days after graduation, I moved to Paris to pursue my dream of studying the culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu.

During an apprenticeship in Spain under the direction of Ferran and Albert Adria of the famed El Bulli, I began to understand that food was a medium for transformative, visceral experiences. A perfect bite in an unexpected form could spark curiosity and open someone’s heart. It could create balance.

At the encouragement of Ferran, I set out on a quest directed by the ‘signs’ to identify my path and reason for being in the world of good, meaningful food. I embarked on a trip around the world, traveling east from Europe through Southeast Asia and Australia. Along the way, I ‘staged,’ tasted and smelled. I studied in kitchens all over the world. I heard the stories of those willing to share their way of life, traditions, and recipes with me. I began to see my destiny as an alchemist, sharing in the long tradition of those who believe that CREATION is the great work and when ingredients are combined in just the right way, they become more significant than the sum of their parts.

When I returned to the States, I knew the restaurant kitchen wasn’t the right place for me and that my travels had unlocked a need for me to tell and re-tell stories that would have an impact to open minds, balance the body, mind, and spirit, and create an appreciation for the world’s diverse cultures.

Travel the World through Chocolate was born.

Cacao became the medium to share it. Cacao has been used as a sacred plant in ceremonies and rituals for thousands of years. It was currency at the height of Mayan opulence and has been a luxury in European society for centuries. For me, the “sacred plant medicine” grabbed my attention and became the starting point for every narrative I create.

In the last twenty years, I have created collections inspired by the spark of falling in love with a culture, beauty, and my curiosity about the world. By combining vibrant cacao with indigenous, energetic plants, I am able to communicate a sense of place, terroir, or earth as the grounding home that connects the soul of the story to the people from whom it originates. I’ve made it part of my mission to use only superior sourced ingredients as an acknowledgment of nature’s secret and potent bounty that I have the honor and responsibility to reveal.

I have explored all seven continents through chocolate, the Marchesa Casati, African American influences on music, ancient Egypt, aphrodisiacs, the first creative cuisine of Italy, the curiosity of Fermentation, how we taste through our sense of smell, and more.

In the past several years, I have come full circle back to my days collecting stones, as I have discovered the metaphysical powers of crystals are similar to the power of vibrant, energetic foods. I have fully realized both crystals and chocolate can take on the intention of those who encounter them, and I have begun to translate that into our chocolate meditation and intention-setting rituals.

Food and Alchemy have been associated with one another since ancient times, exploring the principle of blending the elements, planets, and their vibrations with food. Food can be transformed into something other than sustenance when combined at the right time, with the right hands and heart.

The alchemy of Vosges chocolate is about gorgeous chocolate that begins to elicit a feeling of beauty from the moment it is seen. As it enters the body through the mouth, it creates a harmonious and transformative effect, ultimately contributing to the mind and spirit’s betterment. Every piece of chocolate we make is imbued with intention, the healing sound frequencies we play in our chocolate cooling tunnels, and the joy we infuse from creating it. Our goal as alchemical, experiential chocolate makers is to balance the mind, body, and spirit, honoring them as a system, with wellness being the optimal outcome of that system being in harmony, physically, psychologically, and spiritually.

As the giver or receiver of the final product, you also experience your own energetic intentions and love.

At Vosges Haut-Chocolat, we harness the power of storytelling to open minds, spirits, and palates through chocolate, inspiring us all to interact with the world in a more loving way. We seek to create harmony, creativity, and inspiration through the exploration of the balance between the soul that seeks happiness and the spirit that wants to rule the world.

Ultimately, as a company, we are in pursuit of three things. They are at the core of everything we do and through every experience we create. I wish the same three things for you: Peace, Love, and Chocolate."

- Katrina Markoff, Founder & Chocolatier