Luxury & Chocolate
Let’s start with the term “luxury”. By definition, luxury is rooted in the highest quality and exclusivity. In the era of constant informational bombardment by all sorts of luxury chocolate experts, it is becoming more and more difficult to separate wheat from chuffs. In many cases, the lists of the most luxurious chocolate contain chocolate brands that can be purchased from the dusty floor shelves of any gas station or overpriced expensive brands of doubtful quality. Very often, chocolate is confused with chocolaty candies and sweet confections. And while there are plenty of boutique independent chocolate makers that work with very exclusive and rare high-end cacao, they continue to promote the same mass-produced chocolate brands that survive only on the old perception of being “Belgian”, “Swiss” or “luxurious” which is no longer the case.
Let’s take the analogy of the wine industry. There’s a clear distinction between cheap wines produced with a lot of residual sugar and a lot of additives and luxury wines that a scarce, involve a lot of manual labour, are slow to produce and are made from high-end grapes. Why should be different for chocolate, which falls in the same category of products that are highly enjoyable but not essential for our survival?
Just a brief disclaimer. We have nothing against sweet confectionaries labelled as chocolate. We are against the misrepresentation of sweet confectionaries and mass-produced chocolate under the “luxury” label. The rule for any informed consumer of such products is very simple: know your wine, know your chocolate.
Our problem as consumers, especially when it comes to food, is that we always make difficult choices between what is right and what is more convenient. That is how we are ending up overeating sugar and other unreadable additives. And the labels such as “luxury” always make the trick of feeling less guilty about it.
So, let's get back to chocolate. How to tell that your luxury chocolate is, in fact, a cheap chocolaty product? There's no mystery. Just read the list of ingredients. The first sign that your luxury bar is not that luxury is vegetable oil or butter oil also known as palm oil. It means that the maker is saving on you by substituting or deleting cacao butter with something else not related to chocolate.
Another easy sign that you are not dealing with luxury is the size of the company. If you see their products on every shelf around the globe that good guess will be that it is no luxury. Because luxury and scarcity are inseparable. Plus to satisfy their production capacity they have to deal with cheap bulk cacao from Western Africa. They just have to do that because high-end cacao is scarce. It is scarce, but full of flavour. And the flavour is the worst anime of mass production. It jeopardises the consistency of the industrial process. The process called “dutching” helps to deal with this “issue”. The flavour is removed and only bitterness remains. That is how they taught us to perceive dark chocolate with high-cocoa content as being bitter. And it doesn’t sound very luxurious.
Luxury & Chocolate
In accordance with a Forbes article, the new definition of luxury is based on the “Three Ts”: Time, Truth and Trust. Quote: “ It's not to say that the old definitions don't apply, it's that other ways of looking at the definition of luxury are now also relevant for a lot of consumers. What's important in this new definition is that brands selling in this new way can compete effectively with brands that are offering the traditional definition of luxury. Brands that are effective at selling luxury know that when it's done right, there's no need to discount. That makes the expanded definition of luxury impactful and important for brands and retailers.”
If we want to apply it to the chocolate industry it and condensed into three main bullet points:
- Time: how much time one needs to spend to find chocolate that is truly high-end, unique, hand-crafted and limited in quantity (the traditional definition of luxury).
- Truth: is chocolate truly made with the best ingredients possible without industrial artificial flavouring and other mass-produced processes that diminish the natural quality of ingredients?
- Trust: how consistent is a chocolate brand with promising quality, uniqueness and exclusivity?
They are simple but are applied with great difficulty to existing traditional online and offline retail which is pursuing cost reduction and mass-consumption.
Our Promise of Luxury
- Quality: our selection standards are very high. We work only with brands that produce chocolate from bean to bar, using the best cacao possible, ferment their bean properly, craft their chocolate using technic that preserve the natural flavour of cacao and don’t use any artificial flavours, palm oil or other chemicals.
- Exclusivity: all of our brands are small and medium independent craft bean-to-bar chocolate makers from around the world. They build their production around carefully preserved cacao beans that are limited in supply and sometimes extremely rare. It means that production is so small that you won’t find any of our products on the shelves of traditional retail.
- Time: we spend a lot of time selecting the best chocolate possible and delivering it fast to your doorsteps.
- Truth: Our quality is proven by many reputable awards such as the International Chocolate Awards and the Academy of Chocolate Awards. You won’t find any “funny” ingredients on the list of ingredients of our chocolates. We don’t put anything on our online shelves that we wouldn’t put in our mouths.
Trust: if you find that we don’t fulfil any of our promises, we’re ready to provide you with a full refund. No returns, no questions asked.