Its a Wrap-per

Sharon Klein Graphic Design is pleased to announce that the new branding and chocolate packaging line designed for Ashanty Chocolates has begun production.

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The 4 flavors (2 dark, 2 milk) are each hand wrapped in gold foil, then a custom African inspired pattern, printed on cotton/silk fabric to create a very upscale impression.

Using secondary colors and large readable type, the labels contrast with the dark chocolaty colored background making them pop off the shelf. The bars will be sold at stores, green markets, online as well as corporate gifting in a branded mahogany box. 5% of profits from sales of the bars will go to a variety of causes.

 

 

 

 

 

Next project is applying the new branding to the rest of their product line of small bars, chocolate covered nuts, hot chocolate and a chocolate spread.

Sweet success!

Photo Credit: Takamasa Ota/otaphotography.com

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Chocolate’s Wild Side — #4 is #1 Hey!

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks everyone for your feedback on the logo design for the Landmark Wild Chocolate Reserve. We got responses all around the globe, from Peru to Germany.

The clear winner was #4, way ahead of the rest by more than double. #1 was second, # 5 was third, #2 was fourth and #3 was last in place (though I did get responses that the monkey was very cute and had fans).

For the record #2 was not one of our designs but the current logo being used by LWCR on their website.

Our next step is to revise and improve the direction chosen and also create a horizontal version.

All logos need to be designed both vertically and horizontally to accommodate different space constraints.

Go to my FB page to comment.

LWCR finds, preserves and exports the wildest chocolate on earth — harvesting pockets of wild beans with exceptional chocolate flavor from the Amazon rain forest — where cacao originated. Sustainable harvesting saves this exceptional cacao from extinction and before it disappears.

Read the Washington Post article about Mark Christian and the project.

Chocolate’s Wild Side

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I’m so excited to be working with Mark Christian on the logo for his new chocolate venture, the Landmark Wild Chocolate Reserve. This his organization finds, preserves and exports the wildest chocolate on earth — harvesting pockets of wild beans with exceptional chocolate flavor from the Amazon rain forest — where cacao originated. Sustainable harvesting saves this exceptional cacao from extinction and before it disappears.

The first two chocolates are from the Beni River Valley in northern Bolivia and the Purus River Valley in northwestern Brazil.

Our initial brainstorming led us to our target base: gourmands and connoisseurs, the 5% of the chocolate loving public who want the rare and unattainable — adventurers who believe in sustainable economics, Harley rider wannabes.

We are in the creative process now and would love your feedback on some of the concepts for the brand we’ve developed. Let us know your faves.

Go to my FB page to comment. @sharonkleinGD

Read the Washington Post article about Mark and the project.

Sharon Klein Graphic Design, LLC | Portfolio | 212.645.8163 | FB

The Spirit of Cacao Tasting

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This past Saturday was a bit cold and gloomy, but not inside Back Label Wine Merchants cozy back room. That is where 25 curious chocolate and spirits enthusiasts gathered to taste 8 new experiences from around the world. Mark Christian of the C-Spot and the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund spoke about the chocolates and what makes them heirloom designation, Natasha Soto-Albors of BLWM explained her spirit choice pairings then I discussed the importance of packaging and its effects on why you purchase what you do and showcased the Heirloom Chocolate Series package Mark and I worked together on.

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Our line up was:

#1 Designation VII

Spirit — Tuthilltown Cassis Liqueur (NY)

Chocolate —  Origin: Maya Mountain, Belize / Barsmith: Brasstown (USA) / Cacáo-content: 70%

#2 Designation IX

Spirit — Bittermen’s Citron Sauvage (OR)

Chocolate —  Origin: Piedra de Plata, Ecuador / Barsmith: TO’aK (Ecuador) / Cacáo-content: 73%

#3 Designation II

Spirit — Catskills Provisions NY Honey Rye (NY)

Chocolate —  Origin: Beníano, Bolivia / Barsmith: Oialla (Denmark) / Cacáo-content: 78%

#4 Designation Preliminary

Spirit — Old New Orleans Cajun Spice Rum (LA)

Chocolate —  Origin: Purús, Brazil / Barsmith: Luisa Abram (Brazil) / Cacáo-content: 81%

My fave pairings in order were 3, 1, 4, 2.

One of the highlights was the chance to try the TO’aK sample disks from Ecuador. This bar at $300 a pop is the most expensive in the world. I was very curious to find out what makes it so special. I did like its very mature, grown up flavor, but as discussed earlier much of the hoopla is the cost of wonderful packaging and store presentation of the bar. Well done.

As a bonus, one of the guests, Glenn Petriello of Glennmade Craft Chocolates  gave out samples of his two heirloom chocolate bars whose beans originate from Belize and Ecuador. Glenn is a new bean to bar producer in Hoboken “yeah” and has 6 single origin dark chocolates in his line.

There were many lively questions and discussions and was so much fun that when it was over no one wanted to leave, but eventually we had to go ;-(

The quote of the day from our package “Save the Earth: It’s the only planet with chocolate”.

The Search for the 1% of 100% Chocolate

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It was about 15 years ago when I was first introduced to dark chocolate. Like most of the world I thought a Hershey’s bars was chocolate, and once tried their “Dark” version to see how it tasted — not so good. I started calling myself a chocoholic and everyone knew I loved and ate some every day, expounding that because of the flavonoids, it was health food.

Time went on and I tried darker and darker, higher cocoa content bars up to 80% and began to recognize that there were flavor differences. I started to hear the term “single origin” beans and understand there were many varieties of cocoa trees, pods and that the taste depended on where the beans were sourced from around the world. An 80% chocolate bar means that 20% of the make up is sugar and possibly other fillers, 70% has 30% sugar — you can figure the rest.

Then 3 years ago I began to struggle with eating white sugar and cut all manufactured sweets out of my system, along with my beloved chocolate. I never thought I could live without it. To compensate, I started making shakes incorporating 100% cocoa and fruit juice for breakfast each morning, keeping chocolate and its health benefits in my life.

Oh joy, I recently started eating chocolate again, but mostly 85% cocoa content and above. So thus began my quest to find 100% chocolate bars that were truly edible and enjoyable, joining the ranks of the 1% who like it.

I’ve only been at this a short while — guided by experts like Mark Christian of the C-Spot and Lisa Ainbinder of 2 Beans and my current picks of 80% + I’ll share with you …

Oialla 100% by Bojesen, Akesson’s 100%, Pralus 100%, Taza Wicked Dark 95%, Guittard Nocturne 91%, Cacao Sampaka 91%, Du Rhone 85%, Madecasse 80%

I’m also including a sugarless frozen dessert made with an optional drizzle of mixed 85-100% chocolates on top — a treat for the senses.

Sugarless Macadamia Nut Frozen Bars

  • 1 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups raw, unsalted, macadamia nuts
  • 3/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • Pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 3500 F

Toast the coconut flakes till lightly browned for 4 minutes.

Line 8×8″ pan with parchment paper. (If you use a plastic container you do not need the parchment paper.)

Process the macadamia nuts and coconut oil in a food processor or blender until very smooth. Add coconut and chia seeds and pulse a few times.

Pour the batter into pan and sprinkle with the salt.

Place pan in freezer for at least 30 minutes. (I make initial cut marks after 15 minutes while it’s still pliable.)

Cut into bars.

Store in freezer.

Chocoholic version

Melt a few pieces of a mix of 75, 85 and 90-100% chocolate and drizzle over squares. Yum!!!