THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED in 2017 AND UPDATED ON JULY 3, 2020.
How do you choose which chocolate bar to buy?Sometimes, you just have to listen to what speaks or calls to you.An Italian brand, Amedei, on the top shelf at a fine foods grocery store in DC, whispered in Italian: Andiamo.
We write this post with heavy hearts. Sitting here in Washington, DC, as with many other international capitals, we are witnessing history. Every day, masses of people flood the streets of DC to protest, marching to the White House and elsewhere. Helicopters fly, extremely close to the ground, every night before curfew starts. The sounds and sights are intense. We are in pain and we are here to listen and to learn. If you are in DC right now, there are numerous ways to support the black community. One thing you might consider is purchasing goods from local black-owned businesses, such as a dessert from delicious The Sweet Lobby, or check out one of the many online lists of businesses. Order online. And stay safe.
Yesterday, we had the fortune to attend the Chocolate Business Webinar: The State of the Industry and Next Steps, held by the Chocolate Alliance, and we want to share some key takeaways with you about how to navigate as a chocolate shop or brand during COVID-19. Held on #BlackoutTuesday, much of the discussion was focused on the United States and the unrest felt here. In many ways, the panel felt not like a lecture to the consumer, but a letter to the industry itself. The key takeaways include: focus first and foremost on human health (at office, factory and at origin), embed transparency into your business model and innovate your offerings and how you share your stories.
New craft chocolate strategy: human health, transparency, innovation
Marou Chocolat: Faiseurs de Chocolat bars are fairly small in size with gorgeous packaging and a thin weight.The experience of tasting this bar was a definite time cupsoul and deserves some attention.
The package for the Marou, Tien Giang 70% single origin dark chocolate bar, is a beautiful rich purple colored paper with shiny gold lettering and cocoa bean drawings. Glimmering gold paper enveloping the chocolate bar peeks out from underneath of the purple wrapping, and it’s easy to slide the bar out slowly or simply to tear the paper right off. Unwrap the packaging from around the chocolate and discover the thin chocolate rectangle with diamonds.
Vosges Haut-Chocolat has attracted and will keep Time Cupsoul’s attention forever.
The Vosges confections, designed by Katrina Markoff, a Vanderbuilt University and Le Cordin Bleu (Paris), graduate, showcase beautiful branding and constant innovative chocolate creations (chocolate recipes and packaging design). No surprise; Markoff has been named one of the ten best chocolatiers in the world.
It’s Saint Patrick’s Day today in the United States and what better a day to taste a handmade Irish chocolate bar!
Bean and Goose Chocolateis a sister-owned craft chocolate operation in Wexford, Ireland. Heeding a barista’s recommendation, the “Single Origin Irish Sea Salt and Cocoa Nibs, Cocoa 76%,” was purchased. Would pure chocolatier craftmanship and a touch of Irish luck make this bar a winner?
The Bean and Goose bars’ packaging (seen also on other selections), is somewhat minimalist, with one washed color and bright white lettering (see picture above). The Irish Sea Salt and Cocoa Nibs bar has a grey paper package, and upon turning over, reveals a white sticker with further information regarding the brand: “We are Karen and Natalie Keane, sisters and premium chocolate makers based in the Wexford countryside… We create chocolate that reflects contemporary Ireland, its flavours, its colours and its people.” Never having traveled to Ireland, this concept seemed exciting. What flavors would reveal themselves?