The time has come the walrus said to talk of many things… (From The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carroll)
Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. That’s the topic here, but, sometimes, I stray from the actual products to other aspects crucial to one’s gustatory enjoyment.
Good packaging is an essential ingredient to my chocolate experience. I am not talking about aesthetic appeal, lovely art work, beautiful ribbons, colored foils, or tricked-out boxes. While these all enhance my joy, they are not always directly related to the basic package. How user-friendly is it?
When a bar comes in a paper wrapper with a paper liner that you have to tear open there’s little incentive to save some for later. One might think the company will sell more chocolate that way, but not necessarily. I like being able to return to an unfinished bar and find the remainder in pristine condition. In addition, I enjoy some measure of crumb containment while eating. We all know how chocolate splinters. Every time you break off another piece those little shards scatter. Packages that allow you to sever your portion off neatly, and contain the rest have my allegiance.
Green and Black’s bars are an examples of a bar with an inner liner and a folded paper wrapper. I find these a royal pain. Typically, the inner wrapper tears raggedly and the outer paper will not re-fold well. If you’re consuming the whole three ounce bar in one sitting, that’s fine, but how many people do? And, even if that’s your habit, how appetizing is it to look at chocolate sitting in a sea of torn paper? This design also makes stacking half-eaten bars messy, and adds to my mild dissatisfaction upon returning to them, no matter how delicious they are.
Dolfin uses a re-sealable plastic pouch that keeps your bar neat and fresh. Beschle employs an elegant cardboard envelope for its Quizas line, helping me save some for later.
Askinosie’s packaging is an envelope with an opening at one end. The clear inner liner keeps everything organized, while the outer pouch allows you to come back and enjoy much of the original experience, i.e. the initial anticipation of something intact inside.
Seeds of Change has a new twist. They use a cardboard envelope with three individually wrapped mini bars inside. Attractive and utilitarian.
L.A. Burdick uses a beautiful wooden box containing three cello-wrapped bars. These transparent sleeves are just great. They allow you to see exactly how much chocolate you have left while re-closing and re-opening easily. Burdick’s packaging definitely enhances my enjoyment of their delicious chocolates.
Those flat cardboard boxes with inner foil liners are fine, too. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just functional.
Of course, the chocolate itself is of paramount importance, but why can’t we have both: fabulous quality in a user-friendly format?
A slightly innovative solution may lie with Velcro: an attractively designed plastic, or plastic-lined pouch with a tiny Velcro closure. This would eliminate the need for two layers of packaging and allow for ease of re-opening.
Note: My e-friend, Kerrin, who has an award-winning food and travel blog: mykugelhopf.ch, made the following comment after reading the above piece:
“…every bar of chocolate, the paper opens on the bottom, so you open that–and then break through the foil, but the chocolate is facing down. Doesn’t that bother you? It drives me crazy! I always turn it over to see what it looks like before breaking into it. Every bar with foil and paper is like that.”
Yes, Kerrin, it does irk me. Let’s hope someone reads this and changes a few things.