When I think of “gourmet”, I think of (someone else) making known items taste better: richer chocolate, creamier sauce, more tender beef, premium vegetables.  But it seems to no longer be enough to make things better; now the quest is to make things different.

I recently was offered a “haute chocolate” bar from an assortment.  My choices:  hickory smoked almond, reishi mushroom and walnut, coconut ash & banana, uncured smoked bacon and smoked salt, peanut butter with pink Himalayan salt and Maldon sea salt, Tibetan goji berries, Rogue Ale’s chocolate stout beer, burnt sugar caramel and Alderwood smoked salt, acai & golden berries or pomegranate & yogi.  

I did not know where to begin.  When has chocolate expanded from milk chocolate and dark chocolate to this? 

These bars came with directions on how to enjoy an “exotic” chocolate bar:  see, smell, snap (eat two pieces at a time), taste — by pressing a small piece to the roof of your mouth and letting the sumptuous taste melt on your tongue, and the texture on your palate.

It appears that chocolate has also gained health benefits.  The coconut ash and banana is a “superfood” that offers detoxification, enhanced brain function and general wellness.  Reishi mushroom & walnut and the acai & golden berries are also superfoods, providing stress reduction, heart health and enhanced brain function.  

These bars are just another example of creating an experience around what you offer.  Whether it be chocolate, service, business, education or entertainment, there is room for innovation in ways unthinkable before.  How can you repackage what you are offering in a way that turns heads if not taste buds?

— beth triplett

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