Articles in August 2010

If you're a fan of the tasty amalgam of high-energy sweet and nutrient-rich nutty and fruitiness that is trail mix, you might want to check out our National Trail Mix Day Chocolate Bar in the Recommended Creations section.

national trail mix dayWe introduced the bar last week, (and we told you a little bit about the origins of chocri.) Here at chocri, we had our own ideas about what kind of spin to put on a trail mix bar- walnuts, raisins and chocolate? Macadamias, pistachios, figs and chocolate? We couldn't really decide, so we turned the question out to you all on Facebook, and crafted what we think is a pretty fantastic version of trail mix.

As we pointed out earlier, while this bar embodies all the wonderful variety and healthy crunch of trail mix, we also it all together in a neat chocolatey package. And let's face it- isn't the best part about trail mix picking out all the chocolate, anyway? The National Trail Mix Day Bar is a limited edition recommended creation- and as always, if you order five, we always include a surprise bar, on us.

This Week's Top 5 Bars

Author: Kim | August 27, 2010 | Top-Bar-Names

August... over, almost. Labor day approaches, and school's already back in session in several parts of the US. (Not up here in New York, though!) And in keeping with tradition, here's this week's top five bar names. Which is your favorite?

top 5 chocri bars
  • Edhoclate (Dark Chocolate with Hazelnut Brittle, Strawberry Chocolate Drops, Cappuccino Chocolate Drops, Rice Crispies in Chocolate Coating and Toffee)

  • I Was There... (Dark Chocolate with Real Gold Flakes) Excuse to link to Johnny Cash!

  • Blueberry Nutgasm (Dark Chocolate with Blueberries, Fleur de Sel and Macadamia Nuts) I'll have what she's having.

  • pretzel Porknut supreme (Milk Chocolate with Cashews, Organic Salt Pretzels and Soy Bacon) Officially the manliest bar we've made yet.

  • there might be dragons (Strawberry Chocolate with Blueberries, Fleur de Sel and Cocoa Nibs) I've seen them in concert thirty times!

Feeling creative but need a nudge? Check out our new recommendation engine- it will start working after you select a base chocolate!

Ask chocri: What Are Your Top Toppings?

Author: Kim | August 25, 2010 | Toppings

As you know, we welcome any of your questions about chocri or chocolate in general. Today's question is another Twitter submission that comes courtesy of one of our tweeps, @ladcraig. She asks:

What are the most popular add-ins requested by Chocri customers?

most popular chocolate toppingsThe answer to this is surprisingly static. So much so, in fact, that we've already combined the top five of the most selected toppings into one super awesome bar. It's a great introduction to chocri, and the bar is Milk Chocolate with Strawberry, Roasted Almonds, Hazelnut Brittle, Cinnamon and Real Gold Flakes. You can find it in our Recommended Creations.

Of course, sometimes you have an idea as to what you want, and you just need a little nudge. Maybe some advice on which toppings go best with what you've already selected. In that case, we've just introduced a new recommendation engine to help you craft the perfect chocri. Let us know if you dig it in the comments!

[Image: Flickr]

If you were a boy scout or a girl scout or maybe went to summer camp, you probably have happy memories of trail mix. Maybe you called it gorp (which is thought to stand for "good old raisins and peanuts, although that's likely a "backronym.) Regardless of the nomenclature, it's difficult to resist the popular mixture of peanuts, dried fruit, candy and other sundries that's a staple of hiking.

national trail mix day Trail Mix Day caught our eye because it reminded us of chocri's humble beginnings. Maybe you read the story, but the TL;DR version is that one of our founders, Franz, wanted to give his girlfriend a personalized gift for her birthday. After much deliberation, he decided to hand-create for her a white chocolate bar with gummi bears, dried nuts, and fruit. The fruit/nut/chocolate combo so popular in trail mix went over well, and customers in Germany and elsewhere were soon able to make their very own custom chocolate creations.

Trail Mix is so popular that it actually has its very own holiday. A holiday that's rapidly approaching. (Have you finished your trail mix gift list yet?) August 31st is National Trail Mix Day, and we couldn't resist putting our own spin on the classic combination with our very own trail mix bar.

We've added the limited edition trail mix bar to our recommended creations, and on it you can find Milk Chocolate, Cranberries, Peanuts, Colorful Chocolate Dragées, Coconut Shavings, and Almonds.

It's colorful. It's flavorful. And it's the unlike regular trail mix, it won't spill out in the bottom of your backpack during early fall hiking sessions.

While customizing your own chocolate is always fun, sometimes you draw a bit of a blank when adding toppings. What goes with pear? Which spice best suits my dark chocolate base? Does strawberry chocolate suit my complexion? It's kind of like going out to dinner with your friends- sometimes you can't figure out what you want until you know what everyone else is getting!

With that in mind, we've launched a recommendation engine to guide you. Of course, we still encourage you to be as creative as you want when creating a chocolate bar that's just for you. But if you need a bit of help with pairing chocolate and the perfect toppings, or have an idea of one or two aspects you'd like but want to complement them with a spice or nut, check out this awesome new feature.

You can start the process in our "Create Your Own Chocolate" tab, and below is a pic of how the feature works. How cool is that?

custom chocolate recommendation engine

Friday Five!

Author: Kim | August 20, 2010 | Top-Bar-Names

In the ancient Livejournal tradition of yore, each week we bring you a top five list of bar names. Scanning the orders this week, I noticed a lot of interesting chocri combinations. So exciting to see how each week, new combinations pop up that we haven't seen yet but look totally amazing.

Much of the super creativeness this week was based on our limited edition strawberry chocolate- have you ordered yours yet? If not, take a look at our list and drool...

top 5 chocri bars
  • Bowl of Cherries (Milk Chocolate with Sour Cherries and Bourbon Vanilla) Simple and sounds so tasty...

  • [Brand Name] Bubble Gum (Strawberry Chocolate with Silver Pearls) Imagery! Brilliant!

  • Creamy Pear (White Chocolate with Pear) Minimalicious.

  • Pretty in Pink (Strawberry Chocolate with Strawberry, Marzipan Rose, Bourbon Vanilla and Noghl Almonds) Officially the girliest bar we've made yet.

  • Everything Is Coming Up Roses (Dark Chocolate with Organic Salt Pretzels, Candied Rose Petals, Multicolored Pepper, Rice Crispies in Chocolate Coating and Toffee) Delicate and daring.

Still need some inspiration? Stay tuned on Facebook for a link to our new bar for National Trail Mix Day!

New Bar Alert! Extreme Concentration

Author: Kim | August 19, 2010 | ChocolateInformation

Last week, we contributed two bars to the back to school shopping lists of chocri fans everywhere. This week we're following on with another new bar, one that's especially well-suited to tuck into the bags of a new or returning college student. New today in our recommended chocolate bars is the Extreme Concentration chocri!

Everyone's familiar with the concept of the college all-nighter. And while coffee is often linked to staying up and staying focused, we've got an alternative for people who prefer their perkiness from creamy, tasty chocolate. The Extreme Concentration chocri has a bold dark chocolate base, in and of itself enough to snap you back to the here and now. We've added ground coffee beans for obvious reasons, black sesame seeds for alertness and focus, organic cane sugar for a blast of energy, and omega-3 rich walnuts for an additional brain boost. Tasty and clever.

Send your favorite college kid five bars, and as always, we include a sixth bar on us. And let us know in the comments- what do you reach for when you need an energy infusion?

Extreme Concentration coffee chocolate

After we covered the basics of our fair trade and organic chocolate in yesterday's "Ask chocri" post, we got another, similar question from our Facebook friend Bryan, and we thought it warranted its own answer. Bryan asked a question concerning what goes into our chocolate. He wants to know:

"Where does Chocri source its cocoa beans and other ingredients from?"

Well, that would be telling, wouldn't it? :) Actually, that's another question without a simple answer. While the short answer is "lots of places," the long answer is "mostly Europe." Our chocolate is from Belgium, and unsurprisingly, a lot of our toppings come from Germany.

toppings for chocolateToppings are a bit more broadly sourced, though again mostly European. An example would be our candied lilac and rose petals, which are from a little farm in the Austrian alps. They're real, and created and candied in small batches, by people with giant horns wearing lederhosen. Okay, the last part was hyperbole, but they are really painstakingly handcrafted, just like our blog posts.

Another topping sourced from Germany is mymuesli- if chocri has given you a jones for creating your own food items and you can no longer stand the same cereal everyone and their brother has, you might want to take a look at their 566 quadrillion organic muesli combinations. We've gotten great feedback about this particular topping, and the mymuesli website has some great info not only on their products, but as another example of co-creation. If you're into the idea of making your very own muesli but are in the US, you might want to check out mix my granola. Same idea, but if you enter the code CHOCRI at checkout, you get 15% off!

And lastly, our peanut butter drops are American- has anyone managed to do the humble peanut as much justice as the US? Of course, we can't cover every topping here, but if you have a specific question- tweet us or say hi on Facebook!

If you read our blog or follow us on Twitter or Facebook, you know we've been picking your brains for questions about chocolate or chocri in general to answer on our blog. We've tackled chocolate and gold flakes. We've addressed whether chocolate is an aphrodisiac. We told you whether white chocolate was actually chocolate or something else. (Well, is it? You should click!) We've explored whether chocolate helps you pay attention to things other than the delicious, custom Belgian chocolate creation sitting before you. What were we talking about?

Oh, questions. So we want to know what you want to know. And we recently got a very interesting question from our friend @saleemkhan on Twitter, who wanted to know:   

”What specifically do you mean when you say "Our chocolate is organic and is produced fairly and healthfully." Details?”

When we say our chocolate is organic, that refers to not only the cocoa used in our product, but the other ingredients as well. The milk, the sugar, and the flavorings used in our chocri chocolate is organic. While not all our toppings are organic, there are several that are, and these are marked in our Toppings section. So browse! Invent your perfect all organic bar. (Or add potato stix and sugar stars, we won't tell.)

As for “produced fairly,” this refers to our chocolate being fair trade. Much of the world's chocolate is produced in third world countries where unethical conditions and child labor proliferate. We feel that we couldn't in good conscience produce chocolate without knowing its origins, so all the chocolate we use is certified fair trade. Want to know more about chocri's use of fair trade chocolate and our relationship with DIV Kinder, to whom we've donated just over $43,000? We wrote a blog post about it a while back, and it goes into a bit more detail.

Of course, the benefits of organic and fair trade chocolate go beyond the “good neighbor” aspect. Luckily for the ethically inclined, chocolate produced this way tends to offer a more nuanced taste profile. Don't take our word for it- Corinne DeBra, the woman who ate 13,000 chocolate bars, was kind enough to stack chocri up against her impressive stash and in our conversation- she had this to say about the taste of fair trade and organics:

"Fair trade and organic is more difficult. There is a correlation to a certain type of taste, sometimes related to texture, but it's unpredictable. Often fair trade and organic chocolate are more artisanal, and that affects the texture."

So there you have it- you can read a little more about chocri and fair trade chocolate here.

organic fair trade chocri

Edible gold flakes make a gorgeous addition to any chocri creation, but chocri fans are often a bit stymied by their inclusion. They're so pretty and shiny- but can you really eat them?

are edible gold flakes safeFortunately for our aesthetically-minded friends, chocolate on chocri bars is perfectly safe to consume. Humans have been including this precious substance in special occasion treats for centuries, according to an online FAQ:

"In antiquity, gold and silver were used to prepare medicines and both were considered a digestive. They are still considered medicinal in Chinese and Indian medicine and in certain homeopathic applications."

You should also know that the flakes are indigestible, a common trait for certain every day foods, such as corn. While a constant diet of gold might get kind of pricey, gold flakes on chocolate are safe and incredibly fancy to behold. Are you looking to add a touch of gold to a special occasion? Take a look at our page on chocri wedding favors!

Not too many Friday top fives left until school's back in session! So this week, we added two "Back to School" bars to our chocri creations, one for school kids and one for college kids. We did a pop quiz for each and asked Facebook friends to guess the toppings on our new bars. You can find both by clicking here- excellent work, chocri scholars!

Now, on to this week's top five!

  • One Bar to Rule Them All (Dark Chocolate with Hazelnut Brittle, Raisins, Toffee, Bourbon Vanilla and Almonds) Because fanbars are awesome

  • Sparkles with a Kick (Dark Chocolate with Cashews, Ground Chili and Real Gold Flakes) Because someone should totally make that their roller derby name.

  • Trailer Park Breakfast (Milk and White Chocolate with Gummy Bears, Coffee, Cornflakes, mymuesli - Organic Muesli and Soy Bacon) Because trailers have small kitchens!

  • Hawaiian SQUASH! (Dark Chocolate with Writing: "Happy Birthday!", Macadamia Nuts, Coconut Shavings, Sprinkles and Organic Cane Sugar) Because even when it's warm we envy Hawaii.

  • Mediterranean Melody (Dark Chocolate with Coriander, Coconut Shavings and Fig Bits) And because it's fancy!

Besides custom chocolate creations, what's on your school shopping list?

back to school chocri

Here's #2 of the "Back to School" chocri creations. We're supplying details tomorrow on both, but until then, can you guess the toppings on this one? First one to turn in their scantron wins one of this particular chocri. But what's on it?

To play, visit our English-speaking chocri page, click "like," and comment on our post with which toppings are on this bar. Don't forget your #2 pencils!

back to school chocri

Here comes the first of two "Back to School" chocri creations. We're supplying details tomorrow on both, but until then, can you guess the toppings on this one? First one to turn in their exam wins one of this particular chocri. But what's in it?

To play, visit our English-speaking chocri page, click "like," and comment on our post with which toppings are on this bar. Don't forget your #2 pencils!

back to school chocri

We've been asking our Twitter followers to tweet us some questions about chocolate or chocri in general, and we keep getting pretty interesting queries. Today's question relates to chocolate's beneficial health-related effects, and comes from our Twitter friend @sharlyn_lauby who wants to know: Is it true that chocolate improves your short-term memory?

chocolate improves your short-term memoryThe notion that chocolate boosts short-term cognitive function seems to be rooted in a UK study from a few years back. Interestingly, it seems that not only does chocolate have a positive effect on short-term memory, but that it seems to last for a few hours:

"A study led by Professor Ian Macdonald found that consumption of a cocoa drink rich in flavanols - a key ingredient of dark chocolate - boosts blood flow to key areas of the brain for two to three hours. ...The findings, unveiled at one of the biggest scientific conferences in America, also raise the prospect of ingredients in chocolate being used to treat vascular impairment, including dementia and strokes, and thus for maintaining cardiovascular health.

We've talked about the studies that link chocolate and cardiovascular health on our blog before, but it's interesting to see how those processes affect the brain, too. And while we won't say you need a chocolate bar to get through your SATs, we'll be the the first to say it certainly can't hurt.

There you have it- have you got a chocolate related question? Let us know in the comments!

I shall state my possible intellectual bias from the outset here- I am a very big fan of white chocolate. My first chocri- etched into my coco-consciousness forever- was white with banana chips, bourbon vanilla and mini-cookies. It was even better than it sounds, creamy and crunchy and perfectly vanilla-y. I know some chocolate purists don't dig the white variety, but good quality white chocolate is a wonderful luxury to those who do.

is white chocolate chocolateToday's edition of "ask chocri" comes via our Twitter friend @fullcircleadv, who asks a fairly common question about the origins of white chocolate:

"I've heard that white chocolate isn't "really chocolate"? If it contains cocoa, how is it white? Thoughts?"

@fullcircleadv raises a good point- we describe things as being "chocolate colored," and white chocolate certainly isn't one of those things. So what exactly is it that makes white chocolate chocolate? The difference between white chocolate and regular chocolate lies in three components of chocolate-chocolate- cocoa solids, cocoa liquor and cocoa butter. **White chocolate contains the latter, but neither of the former ingredients.

Wise Geek breaks it down- here comes the science:

"To make chocolate, the seeds of the cacao plant are harvested and allowed to ferment slightly. The outer casing of the seeds is cracked, revealing an inner core which is ground into chocolate liquor. This substance is the base of most chocolates, but it can also be separated to yield cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is the fat of the chocolate, and it is rich, creamy, and very stable when processed well. Cocoa solids are mixed in with more chocolate liquor for intense chocolates, or sold separately. Cocoa butter can be processed to make a variety of products, including cosmetic creams."

And thus, white chocolate is born. Not from the solids or liquor of the cacao plant, but from cocoa butter. Do you share a penchant for paler chocolate? You might want to investigate our limited edition, strawberry chocri base chocolate.

August's First Top 5

Author: Kim | August 6, 2010 | Top-Bar-Names

Another week, another top five creative and delicious chocri bars. If you're not familiar with the tradition, each week, we select five of the most interesting names for chocri bars from the previous week. Here's our list for the first week of August!

top 5 chocri bars
  • Good morning, Sweetheart (Dark Chocolate with Coffee, Organic Cane Sugar and Bourbon Vanilla) That's totally like a latte that won't spill down your shirt on the subway!

  • Mel's Island Magic (Dark Chocolate with Honey Chocolate Drops, Organic Flax Seeds, Macadamia Nuts, Coconut Shavings and Pineapples)

  • Man Bar (Dark Chocolate with Roasted Peanuts and Soy Bacon) Old Spice Guy, is that you?

  • 2 Legit 2 Quit (Dark Chocolate with Hazelnut Brittle, Ground Chili, Fleur de Sel, Toffee and Black Sesame) Okay, we won't touch this.

  • WAKE-UP!!! (Dark Chocolate with Coffee, Fleur de Sel, Cinnamon Cornflakes and Rice Crispies in Chocolate Coating) That combo totally warrants leaving my bed!

Sound good, but needs moar berries? Check out our new, limited edition Strawberry base chocolate. All the berry-ness of strawberries, now conveniently in chocolate bar form!

It's summer! And with that comes a fruity sensation in chocri land:

Our New Strawberry Base Chocolate!

For a limited time only!

Strawberry Chocolate Bar

This will send your taste buds into strawberry fields! Make a customized chocolate bar with it now - we'll only have it in the assortment for four weeks!

If you're wondering what it actually is - it's white chocolate with natural strawberry ingredients. Delicious and refreshing. Pair it with banana for a "Strawberry Banana Smoothie" or with some yummy hazelnut brittle and and cookies for a sumptuous treat. Or really - combine it with anything you like, because that's what design your own chocolate is all about!!


Topping of the Month: Seasoned Potato Stix

Author: Carmen | August 4, 2010 | Toppings

Yes, yes, you read correctly. August's topping of the month is potato stix!

Potato Stix on customized chocolate

Since today in the Grains section, you can now customize your chocolate bars with Seasoned Potato Stix. They are seasoned with a paprika (bell pepper) spice mix, and just the kind you love to munch in the evenings with your favorite TV show. But now you can get them on your customized chocolate!

Did you know that potato stix (or sticks) are also called "shoestring potatoes"? When they first came on the market, manufacturers packaged them in hermetically sealed steel cans to protect them from damage. The potato stix on your customized chocolate bars fear no danger though, for they are bedded in wonderful chocolate to protect them.

So how does it taste? Obviously, this is one for the adventurers among you, but in chocri internal taste tests, the potato sticks on chocolate fared pretty well... with most of us. It's definitely one of the more controversial toppings of the month, so we want your opinion! Try them and comment and let us know which camp you're in!

egoo journal on customizaiton and personalization

Today, launches, the first and only magazine in the US about customized and personalized products. Egoo is an established magazine about the same topic in Germany, since late 2008. That egoo is now coming to the US is exciting, because it marks the rise of mass customization in the US as we only knew it in Germany prior to this. One point of comparison is the egoo journal Shop Directory, listing all the websites that allow you to design your own products. In Germany, that list encompasses 174 selected online shops - in the US we're only at about 60 e-commerce sites that give you a chance to customize and personalize.

60 websites with customization however is still a proud number - especially if we look to other countries which have at most a handful of such websites (like the UK). This fact prompted the founder of, the German and first version of the online magazine, to take his magazine to the United States. Starting today, will report on what is going on in the world of customization - whether it's new innovation, new websites, or just interesting news about the companies and offerings in the space - you will hear about it there.

Full disclaimer: I will be writing some of the articles for egoo-journal. I consider myself fairly involved in the mass customization world in the US, and am excited about sharing my findings with you in an online magazine format!

There were a flurry of depression and chocolate related stories earlier this year, mainly correlating depression and chocolate consumption. We at chocri found the slant of most of the pieces to be a bit surprising, because we've always read that natural compounds in chocolate are the kind that can help alleviate depression.

chocolate and depressionWhile chocolate has long been known to have positive chemical effects on the body, it's not like you can replace Prozac with chocolate just yet. explains how chocolate can affect mood:

"Certain alkaloids have been isolated in chocolate that may raise brain serotonin levels. Scientists now speculate that "chocoholism" may actually have a real biological basis with a serotonin deficiency being one factor. Another mechanism that has been proposed for why chocolate has such a powerful influence on mood is that chocolate has 'drug-like' constituents including anandamines, caffeine, and phenylethylamine."

So there you have it- chocolate isn't a drug (although that seems difficult to believe when you're jonesing for it) but it can have some pretty interesting effects on mood and happiness. Looking for a mood-altering bar? Check out our Pure Relaxation chocri creation!