Pamela Anderson once stated that chocolate is better than sex, and while some of us (read men) may differ with her, it can’t be denied that ever since being taken to Europe by those first explorers of the Americas, we have been under its spell. The chocolate we eat today is sweeter and cheaper than that enjoyed by the Mesoamericans who discovered it, but hasn’t really changed much since Europeans developed milk chocolate in the mid-nineteenth century. Dutch designers Studio Wieki Somers have given themselves the challenge of reinventing the chocolate tasting experience.
This is all part of a Gerrit Rietveld Retrospective called “Confrontations” by the Vitra Design Museum. The museum asked five Dutch designers to create works in collaboration with experts in a diverse range of fields, from charcoal makers to molecular biologists. Studio Wieki Somers got hooked up with renowned chocolatier Rafael Mutter from Freiburg in Germany. Being designers, they immediately tackled the visual aspect of chocolate by molding and layering white chocolate into huge wheels of milk chocolate and creating what look like beautiful wood inlays. The designers liken the patterns created to fossils buried in the earth. While visually arresting chocolate was created, they found that the taste of the chocolate wasn’t altered. It is then that they decided to incorporate a rotating Swiss cheese slicer. Instead of the blocks of chocolate we are more used to, the mill produces “delicate flowers” of chocolate.
This chocolate mill not only offers up chocolate in a whole new way, but the mill is the perfect fit for the “fossilized” chocolate. As the blade slowly cuts down it reveals new strata of chocolate, and with each new level, we start to think that maybe Ms. Anderson got it right.