Thursday, October 11, 2007

What's a Chocophile to do?

I'm not exactly a neat freak, but my haphazard system for storing chocolate bars is beginning to bother me. Open any kitchen cabinet drawer in my house and you'll find tin foil bundles of partially eaten bars. I've done my best to wrap each bar individually and keep them away from smelly onions, soy sauce and even other bars. But I tend to forget where I put them and when my mood calls for a 50% Michel Cluizel milk chocolate bar, tin foil goes flying.

So one day I envisioned the perfect invention for the chocolate connoisseur - a chocolate humidor. With dreams of Food Network appearances and a feature in Brookstone, I did a Google search just to make sure I was the only one with this brilliant idea. Darn. Of course there were some chocolate humidors out there, but nothing compared to the number and variety of wine cellars. Here is what I found:

Starting at the top, Richart sells a "Burlwood Chocolate Vault" for $825 as part of their "luxe" collection. Ouch. It looks like it belongs in a robberbaron's study, next to the shelves of rare books and the antique telephone. But at least the vault comes with 7 drawers of chocolates representing the Richart flavor profiles. The temperature and humidity gauges will keep the chocolate at the ideal temperature (12 degrees Celsius) until you're ready to indulge. And can you imagine your friends' reactions when you escort them after dinner to your chocolate vault?

If Richart's vault hints at old-money Manhattan mens' clubs, the Chocolate Cellar by Chocolate 15-18 is a sleek and modern machine that belongs in a DWR showroom. This Montreal based company defines itself through its attention to the proper storage of chocolate. For those of us not yet in the metric world, it may not be so apparent, but between 15 and 18 degrees Celsius is the ideal temperature for preserving chocolate. (Though Mr. Richart thinks differently.) Before eating, however, Chocolate 15-18 cautions you to bring the chocolate to room temperature for optimal tasting. The funny thing about the 15-18 cellar is that they will only loan it to you for a tasting party with the chocolate! No online sales yet.

And finally, for the mere price of 3 fine chocolate bars, you can buy the "Chocolador" by Chocolove. This product wins points for the most creative name, but it is really nothing more than a cute box made of "African Okoume." Unlike the Richart or 10-15, Chocolove doesn't offer any temperature control, making it a useless for the hot, humid summers experienced by those who don't live in the Bay Area. But at $19, the chocolador is a bargain because it includes 8 different Chocolove bars, tasting notes and of course, the Chocolove poems.

Many chocolate enthusiasts scoff at this neurotic attention to the storage of something that demands to be eaten immediately. On a Chowhound message board devoted to chocolate storage, one member writes "What's this nonsense about storing chocolate? Open your mouth, insert chocolate, chew, and it's stored." Ed Charles, an Australian food writer, says, "I have a place reserved for the Chocolate 15-18 chocolate humidor right between my truffle brush and my novelty apron."

Sorry "floydramp," Maybe I've done too many chocolate tours, but I simply can't down an entire 3.5 oz gourmet chocolate bar the moment I purchase it. I guess I'm a chocolate packrat. Since I don't have $825 and borrowing a cellar from Montreal seems absurd, I'll be heading down to the basement shortly to develop my chocolate humidor prototype! If you have any suggestions for clever, catchy names, email me at

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Lol! I read the first line of this and it sounded WAY too familiar! The better the bar the faster it gets eaten, but sometimes I forget them and half eaten carres appear in coat pockets. Not always a nice surpise - if they're covered in fluff it's just too sad - the wastage! Good luck with your tours!