In a July 2009 Seven Days article entitled “Big Fish” — about the impending arrival of a Whole Foods market in the Burlington area — I took note of two items sold at Whole Foods that I lusted after but couldn’t find locally. One was gourmet salts in bulk; the other was Vosges bars, made by a creative chocolate company in Chicago.
Now Healthy Living in South Burlington has filled the chocolate gap. According to lead grocery buyer Chris Burkheimer, “A couple people had asked for the [Mo’s Bacon] bar.” Thinking he’d bring in two or three Vosges flavors, Burkheimer examined the product line and found each variety too enticing to pass up. “I said, ‘I’ll bring them all in,’” he recalls. “People are really excited about the bars. They’ve all been selling.”
In addition to bacon, milk chocolate and smoked salt, the pricey sweets (3 ounces for $6.29) come in exotic flavors such as curried-coconut Naga and ginger-wasabi Black Pearl. There’s bacon-caramel toffee, too.
Burkheimer surprised himself by flipping for the Vosges bars, he says. “My buying philosophy is really local,” he explains. “On this one thing I really went outside the box.”
But regardless of their provenance, Burkheimer is keen on experiments prompted by customer requests. “We have plenty of space to bring in new products, try them out and see how they sell,” he says. “There’s a lot of room to play with.”
Gourmet salt? It’s on the way.