17 Mar 2015

Exotic Chocolate Wrappers

As an organic expansion on our Dreamy Creamy Textures post, and in line with our Rich Pickings theme of exotic foliage, wildlife and botanical illustrations and fabrics, as featured previously on Mirabelle, I have curated a collection of richly-adorned chocolate packagings that echo the lush Tropics and redefine the Olmec 'Xocoatl' beverage as a godly delicacy. This is translated in a pictorial style that is redolent of nostalgia and colonial grandeur, yet measured and aligned to the artisan quality of the finished article. It marries a carefully-thought-out choice of typography, colour scheme and archival motif to the heritage that the chocolatiers hold dear in relation to their superior quality produce, and ultimately to the expectation of the connoisseur.

The wrappers transcend their ephemera transience and defeat their purpose, thanks to their work of art quality and their intrinsic visual and gustative invitation to faraway lands. These wrappers will not be readily disposed of, morphing instead into collectables! Meanwhile the subtly flamboyant packaging is an invitation to an expectation. That of highly-desirable moreish content!




Sources: (1) Single Origin Bà Ria 76% Chocolate and (2) company logo from Vietnam-based French chocolatier duo Marou Faiseurs de Chocolat, niched as 'the first single origin gourmet bean-to-bar chocolate to come out of Vietnam'. They pride themselves on producing artisan chocolate, as far from modern industrial processes as can be. As an example, their antique cocoa bean roaster, bought on eBay, dates back to 1937! Marou's brand identity was executed by Rice Creative: "We wanted the packaging to be strongly linked to Vietnam. We began collecting beautiful ceremonial papers that are still produced by artisanal printers in Cho Lon, the old Chinese quarter of Saïgon. These papers are hand-printed with intricate traditional lattice patterns. Typically, the patterns are adorned with illustrated fruits, flowers and auspicious animals. Inspired by this illustration style we hand drew our own original chocolate oriented ornaments of cacao pods, flowers and leaves, throwing in some heavenly looking clouds for the tropical monsoon. Our custom lattice pattern keeps a traditional look and creates a framework to incorporate some modernist typography, inspired by the old signage still found around the country." (via The Dieline). Further reviews by Behance and Lovely Package. Marou Chocolate is available to purchase online from La Grande Epicerie de Paris, and other selected retail outlets worldwide. 

(3) Coffret Opale 12 Agates au Praliné (12 x Praline-filled Chocolate Bonbons in a Giftset Box) and (4) Chocolat Noir d'Origine Ghana-Indonésie-Equateur (80% Dark Chocolate in foil bag, for extra freshness) by Parisian chocolatier Chapon. Patrice Chapon is a passionate gourmet who used to churn ice-creams and sorbets for Buckingham Palace! In 1986 he decided to branch out into the world of cacao, turning a wish into a quest for perfection. A bean-to-bar chocolatier since 2012, Chapon has been spunning the magic in his atelier, with a little help from his carefully-renovated vintage machinery (Cocoa Bean Roaster, Cocoa Bean Breaker & Winnower, and Conche). Further review by Le Figaro (in French). Chapon Chocolate is available to purchase online from their own store, and from selected retail outlets (ex: La Grande Epicerie de Paris).

(5) Venchi Blend 90% Fondente Extra Dark Chocolate and (6) Venchi Selezione Extra Dark chocolate by Italian confectioner Venchi, founded by Silviano Venchi in 1878. The Piedmontese chocolatier delighted the customers, not only with chocolates but also nougatine, one of his recipes! The chocolate shop has come a long way since, and it has expanded to the point where it is now producing no less than 350 speciality chocolates, exported worldwide! Venchi Chocolate is available to purchase online from their own store, and from selected retail outlets worldwide (ex: Selfridges).

(7) Mint 67% Chocolate by Chocolate and Love. The cacao used by this ethical Swiss-made organic chocolate company originates from Fairtrade-certified cooperatives in The Dominican Republic, Peru and Panama. They specifically source their beans from countries where child labour is not known to exist. Besides all the ingredients are 100% traceable to source. C&L's commitment to high standards of quality, including reduced sugar contents, made them win the coveted Great Taste Awards 2014. Through their evocative 'Feast for the Senses' C&L awaken the senses to consumption. Likewise their choice of packaging design was carefully thought out and involved a New York artist who captured through his paintings the richness of the local environment and ingredients of origin. C&L Chocolate is available to purchase from selected retail outlets (ex: Ocado and Harvey Nichols).


A p p e n d i x : Here are two noteworthy premium chocolatiers who, despite not packaging their chocolate in fancy exotic design, have a Criollo and Trinitario offering that is on a par with that of their exotic wrapper counterparts!
  • Green & Black's: Established British purveyor of superior quality organic and ethical chocolate without the elitist preconceptions, Green & Black's ranges are available across the board, from boutique delis to mainstream supermarkets. The brand has successfully penetrated median mass market with its quality produce and has educated the British palate on taste, before upping the ante and taking on the rest of the world, under the umbrella of Cadbury. Five years later, the British giant was in turn bought off by Mondelēz International (formerly Kraft Foods Inc.). We hope that Green & Black's will keep its edge and not dilute and sell out! Meanwhile let's fondly keep in mind that Green & Black's very first chocolate, Maya Gold, was awarded the UK's first Fairtrade mark for a chocolate product, back in 1994. As for I, my all-time Green & Black's favourites remain White Chocolate (smooth in taste and speckled with vanilla) followed by Almond Milk Chocolate and Raisin & Hazelnut Milk Chocolate. Green & Black's Chocolate is available to purchase online from their own store, and from retail outlets worldwide.

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