Katrina Markoff and Dr. William Li in the Lab
An everlasting quest for ingredients at the pinnacle of their taste profile.
This is a labor of love for Vosges.
It is a continuum where the constant evolution and betterment of ingredients is central to our craft processes and no recipe is ever considered finished. As we have studied our ingredients, we kept coming back to the idea that we could utilize raw cacao in a new way and incorporate the whole cacao pod: fruit, seed and fiber. By including what is sometimes considered byproducts of chocolate making, we could take better advantage of how nutrient rich other parts of the cacao are and limit unnecessary waste.
Katrina challenged herself to create new bars with limited ingredients that would surprise the palate with their complexity. “These bars are meant to engage all five of the senses so that you are able to get in touch with your sixth sense, which is your intuition. When you’re able to connect with your essence strongly enough, then you’re able to connect to the divine knowledge that we are born with — our heart intelligence and consciousness.”
Introducing Pure Plant.
For Katrina, “This is the ultimate alchemy; the place where science meets the mystical and spiritual realms. By combining science and nutritional value with emotional and visceral value, I have come back full circle to my education in chemistry, psychology and my love for cooking. By combining this knowledge of my past with my current studies in alchemy, I created chocolates that are about bringing people closer to their own essence. I really wanted to make something that had a soul, deep meaning and a reason for being. My hope is that these chocolates create a true transformative, experience.”
At the heart of the Pure Plant is the cacao pod. Discovered in approximately 1500 BC, cacao was the godly food that granted energy and power to the ancient elite. Utilized by the Olmecs, Aztecs and Mayans, the frothy drink made with cacao paste, spices, chilies and honey, was a part of rituals for centuries. In early medical books cacao can be found in hundreds of entries and in modern times cacao has been deemed a superfood. With the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food on earth, cacao is a natural energy enhancer, aphrodisiac, can be used to improve digestion, circulation, focus, and ones sense of well-being. Cacao is truly a miracle of nature.
To add to its nutritional benefits, cacao is also a high vibe food. Foods that are alive, clean, pure and activated with enzymes and minerals, like cacao, are and give you this Higher Vibe. At Vosges we source cacao that is harvested ethically with loving intention. When we craft our chocolate, we approach it with this same positivity, passing this energy on to the chocolate and our guests.
We also infuse all of our Pure Plant chocolate bars with a frequency at 528hZ, sustained as the chocolate cools from a liquid state to a solid state. This is a transformational, healing, miracle-manifesting, frequency, resulting in a shift of energy on a cellular level.
The five new bars in our Pure Plant collection are the culmination of more than a decade of friendship between Katrina and scientist, Dr. William Li. Through a chance meeting at the TED Conference was born a kinship forged in food, travel and curiosity. Over the course of the ten years, they have developed a vocabulary informed by their mutual science background, global adventures and their palates. Of the partnership, Dr. Li notes, “Vosges is known for revealing the hidden dimensions of chocolate by combining cacao with unexpected flavors and ingredients. What was exciting to me was the opportunity to reveal the hidden dimensions of health through food as medicine. When our worlds collide, new sparks fly and what emerged are these new transcendent chocolates.”
While our Pure Plant bars are the first chocolate bars that the two are offering to the public, their first chocolate collaboration had a very cardinal client: the Vatican. Invited to a conference centering on the frontiers of science, medicine and spiritual healing, Dr. Li was asked to gather with 200 other world leaders and present his work. Along with a cookbook of his recipes, Dr. Li and Katrina created a bespoke dark chocolate bar loaded with raw cacao, probiotics, dark chocolate and curative spices to be shared with attendees. The success of that bar has been in the back of both of their minds since its inception and the possibility of another project together, a welcome idea.
“With the pandemic changing almost every aspect of the world around us, we felt this would be the moment to create something new and exciting together. It was incredible to bring my knowledge of food as medicine to Katrina’s chocolate lab.”
Dr. Li and Katrina worked back and forth between Chicago and Cambridge and the result is a chocolate collection that explores the palate through ingredients found in both the medical field’s arsenal of plant medicine and the world’s dinner tables. While raw cacao is the superstar of Pure Plant, by combining it with unrefined sweeteners and olive oil, the bars remain creamy and rich, without dairy and all without the addition of any refined sugar. Katrina and Dr. Li have also incorporated some of plant medicine’s most notable tastes that have found their way into the culinary world. Each of these prized ingredients has been mindfully included in these chocolate bars to contribute to wellness and health, without sacrificing delectable flavors.
We invite you to explore our new five Pure Plant bars…
Often overlooked for other more common berries, black raspberries are rich in vitamin C and fiber. In terms of health benefits, they are considered king, with attributes that have been shown to reduce the risks of certain cancers.
Walnuts have a wealth of polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. Adding walnuts to one’s diet has been shown to lower LDL or bad cholesterol. The mushroom is one of nature’s most giving medicinal plants. Chanterelle mushrooms, in particular contain beta-glucans that act as prebiotics for the gut, as well as fifteen different amino acids. They are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin D and Beta-Carotene.
Chinese 5 Spice refers to the blending of star anise, cloves, Chinese cinnamon, Szechuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds. This blend encompasses all five of our taste sensibilities, to: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami. Like cacao these spices are chock full of antioxidants and minerals. Referred to in Chinese medicine as gan zao, licorice root has been used for centuries to treat inflammatory disease and diseases of the gut.
In addition to the use of the entire cacao fruit, the Whole Cacao Fruit bar has been blended with raw honey. Raw honey’s antioxidants are linked to beneficial effects on heart health. Phytonutrients in honey have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties to boost the immune system and assist in fighting illness.
Lucuma is a sweet fruit native to South America. It assists in regulating blood sugar levels and offers a powerful dose of antioxidants. It is also rich in flavonoids, known for anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
Each of our new Pure Plant bars helps to activate your body’s defenses in powerful ways. They work address the needs of the body to heal, regenerate and be nourished. They’re a whole new way to consume chocolate and experience cacao. By incorporating the whole cacao in this innovative way Pure Plant takes one of the most nutrient rich ingredients in nature and charts a new path for how we use it and ultimately, how you taste it. Each Pure Plant bar allows you to experience cacao as close to how nature intended it to be discovered: simply.