Katrina Markoff is the Founder and Chocolatier of Vosges Haut-Chocolat. Her company features intriguing chocolate creations that are made with the finest ingredients sourced by Markoff from around the world. The purple house of Vosges Haut-Chocolat and the concept of Travel the World through Chocolate™ were inspired by her journeys. Katrina’s fusion of indigenous spices, flowers, roots, herbs and liqueurs with premium chocolate creates a sensory experience that nurtures awareness of and appreciation for the world’s diverse cultures. Katrina has been a FoundersCard Member since 2014.
When did you know that you had a passion for chocolate?
I always knew I had a passion for food but growing up chocolate was not my thing. After college, when I was living in Paris, I had my first “Chocolate Experience” at L’Ambroisie in Place des Vosges. It was the very moment I bit into this freshly made beignet with a chocolate ganache that exploded in my mouth and I was taken into the present moment. I could only think about this experience happening right then and there.
What inspired you to create the luxury chocolate Vosges Haut-Chocolat?
After Le Cordon Blue and El Bulli, I travelled around the world learning about different cultures through their people and cooking. I had a necklace from the Nagaland tribe in India from my travels and I started researching it — I wanted to tell the story of these cultures through the medium of chocolate. No one in the US at the time was producing an ultra premium product with storytelling.
Vosges prides itself on ‘storytelling through chocolate’. How do you create that experience for the customer?
At Vosges Haut-Chocolat, we harness the power of storytelling to open minds, spirits and palates through esteemed chocolate, inspiring us all to interact with the world in a new and creative way. We do this through the ingredients and the inspiration behind each truffle parfum. We tell this story in all of our description booklets and catalogs and online.
Where on your travels has significantly influenced the recipes for Vosges?
This is always so hard. I find inspiration in everything – whether it be the oldest Donut Shop in Youngstown, OH or Oaxaca, Mexico learning about the tradition and process of Mezcal. Right now, I am obsessed about the process of chocolate from Root to Bar – so I have a strong focus on what is grown in Rainforest Regions.
What is your personal favorite truffle?
It all depends on my mood. Today, at this moment, I am loving the Holiday Scotch Pine Truffle: Extract of pine + cocoa nibs + 62% cocoa dark chocolate.
Aside from your company/job, what is your greatest success?
My children. I know that is cliche but they are my greatest success. Being able to experience life through their eyes, well its simple perfection.
Who do you most admire?
My mother. Her strength, love of everyday life, her work ethic, her success, her ability to truly do it all work, family, friends and all the while enjoying life to the fullest.
What is one book you would recommend to everyone?
Who is someone we should be following on Twitter right now?
I am the worst with social media. I couldn’t tell you who to follow on Twitter – but on Instagram – Alexis Traina
What is one app that all FoundersCard Members should be using?
Give us your best plug/brag a little about as to what you’re working on now/next.
LAB Katrina Markoff – Freedom is my special sauce. It enables me to grow the company artfully. So my priority is developing “Lab Katrina Markoff”, a new in-house R&D program. We’re using it to roll out new products to our stores every two weeks. This is very very limited editions – 25 to 100 piece total.
We are embarking upon a new frontier for our from retail boutiques showcasing our innovation in the truffle cases through an ultimate tasting experience of chocolates coming directly from my Lab and Kitchen. Each collection will come with a message straight from me explaining my inspiration and process. I will share tasting notes and hidden secrets that only I know, and FoundersCard members will have access to these items at our boutiques and through our dedicated FoundersCard concierge.
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