Artisanal Chocolate Temptations

Deborah Prinz // New York, NY

Having explored many chocolate shows, festivals and boutiques in several countries over the previous years, I had perfected my rhythm of grabbing tastes and stuffing them into my mouth. I sought to optimize my hand-to-mouth chocolate sampling at the Chocolate Show in New York City in the Fall of 2009, where, wandering among the booths, I gluttonously ingested hundreds of samples as I looked for Jewish connections for my book.

For the first time, however, I stopped short, hand poised; I pulled back just in time to avoid eating a piece of chocolate covered bacon from a huge pile on a display tray. As I calmed down to consider my Jewish limits on chocolate eating, I noticed at least two side by side vendors offering this very treyftemptation.

A strong visceral repulsion propelled me away from that bacon and chocolate combo and every time I have seen it since. Admittedly, my mother served us bacon occasionally when we were children. Over the years as she learned more about Judaism and also healthy eating, she switched to turkey bacon. My own journey away from bacon congealed as I became more observant, either keeping a kosher home or eating a vegetarian and later a pescatarian diet.

Again, I confronted my inner choco-police when I found Bacon + Chocolate at the Vosges store on Madison Avenue (NYC), offered as the sample of the day during Passover, which also happened to be the the day before Easter as well as a Shabbat. The Bacon + Chocolate bar, the company’s most popular item, featured prominently in that spring’s Vosges catalog and has since been supplemented by a Bacon Pancake Mix and a Bacon Truffle Collection. Surprisingly, this uniquely American food duo boasts its own Wikipedia entry since May of 2010, which received 2520 hits just in the past thirty days.

All signs seem to point to the fact that this bacon-chocolate fad is only growing in strength. It’s too bad that my pigging out would not allow me to peel the chocolate off the bacon, but so it is when fun chocolate tastings bump up against religious boundaries.

A rabbi, writer and chocolate aficionado, Deborah Prinz is writing a book on Jews and Chocolate to be published in 2012 by Jewish Lights. Learn more at Jews on the Chocolate Trail.

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