Posted: October 13th, 2009 | Author: Todd | Filed under: chocolate, packaging | Tags: chocolate, packaging | 1 Comment »
Why would seven girls from Davis, California start a chocolate company? Because it’s yummy dummy. In other words, for the sheer pleasure of it. That’s probably why they donate 100% of their profits to charities benefiting children and the environment. Who can resist that combination? 71% Cocoa is an unusual rating but I dig that they threw in the extra 1% for good measure. It’s kind of like an old-school baker’s dozen. The plain bar I sampled (actually I ate the entire thing… does that still count as sampling?) was nice, smooth and enjoyably crisp at room temperature. It’s a pretty straightforward flavor that provides balanced sweetness and a little bitterness but not the strong after taste characteristic of many single source bars. Still it’s strong enough to engage neurons in your milk proximity detection lobe so make sure you’ve got a cold glass close at hand.
Yummy Dummy chocolate isn’t fancy. In fact the wrapping job is reminiscent of my little brother’s approach to Christmas gift preparation. Sort of loose around the middle with an assiduous avoidance of square corners. But it is precisely this distinctly hand-crafted quality that makes the design so charming – particularly in conjunction with the “girl owned and operated” slogan. It’s not that my expectations are lower. More that the home spun design and production fit so nicely with the overall story (what we have somewhat cynically come to call the “brand”). Many big chocolate companies hire agencies and buy fancy folding equipment and only manage to produce a lifeless and uninspiring container the only redeeming qualities of which are the squareness of the corners (I’m looking at you Nestlé). Not Risa (who does much of the design work), Sara, Bay, Rowan, Rachel, Stream and Sedona. They are content to revel in the simple secret revealed when you first unfold the wrapper and are greeted with this simple phrase: “Oh sweet mystery of life at last I found you.”
Yummy-Dummy’s website proceeds in the same spirit as their packaging – including the self-styled proverb: “Man can not live by chocolate alone, but girls can…” It’s a fun read actually and you’ll learn about things like their Nut-O-Matic machine. To get the full experience you should purchase a bar the next time you are at the Davis Farmer’s Market. If that isn’t going to be any time soon you can order bars online.
Yummy Dummy Chocolates
Davis, CA 95618
Posted: October 5th, 2009 | Author: Todd | Filed under: chocolate, design, packaging | Tags: chocolate, design, packaging | 1 Comment »
TCHO chocolates come in four 70% cacao flavors made from organic, fair trade beans. Chocolatey, Fruity, Nutty and Citrus. These flavors are derived from chocolates inherent nuances and not from additional ingredients so the affects are subtle but quite distinct from one another. Citrus has a sharper almost malty impact at the back of the mouth and an after taste that lingers like wine. Fruity is a rounder, richer flavor that seems to happen more on the sides of the tongue and is my preference. I’m looking forward to trying chocolatey and nutty next.
I discovered these little squares of chocolate in a small grocery store in the tiny town of Point Reyes Station, California and couldn’t resist the simple pleasure of the foiled, geometric designs on bright colored wrappers. I was delighted to discover the chocolates themselves also have a complementary geometric design engraved into them. TCHO’s is definitely a design friendly company. The identity and packaging were designed by Spiekermann Partners in Berlin and you can even read about the design from Susanna Dulkinys’ perspective on the site.
The TCHO website is nice and clean, full of fun information and the only site I’ve seen that boasts a colophon. They also have an ongoing blog.
Interactive types will appreciate that TCHO went through a beta phase and has now fully launched version 1.0. I would recommend you find some of this great chocolate. You’ll enjoy the experience while rewarding a company that values design as a partner in its business. If there is not a location near you try ordering online. As an interesting side note the first web based order was placed by Herbie Hancock.
Pier 17 (on the Embarcadero)
San Francisco, CA 94111
Available in Minnesota at Product Exchange on Lake Street. Find other locations.
It looks like I’m not the only one to notice TCHO. Scott Hansen has a nice post on his iso50 blog worth checking out. If you can forgive him for the fact that he does “not really enjoy chocolate on it’s own” it is worth taking a gander at his fantastic poster designs while you’re at it (I already have three so try not to look as a poor substitute for self-control).