UPDATE:This post was edited at 2:20 p.m. to correct the minimum number of bars to 2, not 3. I can tell the difference between numbers, I swear.
Barring a large lottery win, this may be the closest I get to channeling my inner Willy Wonka.
Chocri, a German start-up that recently set up shop in the U.S., offers chocoholics the opportunity to create their own chocolate bars via its Web site, createmychocolate.com. First, you start with your base chocolate: milk, dark, or white. Then you choose up to five toppings, which range from about what you'd expect to add to a chocolate bar (nuts, coconut, etc.) to things you might not think to put on chocolate (chamomile, poppy seeds, gold flakes). You can even name the bar if you want; it'll be printed on the package.
Once you confirm your choices, the bars are made in Germany from organic, fair-trade-certified chocolate and shipped to you in about three weeks. Each 3.5-ounce bar starts at $6.90, and each topping adds a little more to the price (sea salt adds 20 cents, and the real gold flakes will add an extra $2.10), so if you're on a limited budget, you might want to keep that in mind.
There's also a two-bar minimum for each order, and that can be two completely different bars or two of the same. Shipping usually runs about $6, but expedited shipping that gets your chocolate to you in one week instead of three, is available as well for $19.90. One percent of the sales is donated to DIV Kinder, a German-based child-welfare organization that helps children in Ivory Coast, which, not coincidentally, is the largest exporter of cacao beans.
Chocri gave me a crack at being a chocolatier recently, and this is what I came up with:
Very smooth. The sprinkles and cinnamon corn flakes (looked similar to Cinnamon Toast Crunch for you cereal junkies out there) added a bit of crunch, while the extra cinnamon complemented the milk chocolate nicely. I think this one might be my favorite.
Dark chocolate with coconut shavings, banana chips, nougat pieces.
I'm a sucker for dark chocolate and coconut, so I already knew I would be digging this bar. The banana chips felt like an appropriate addition to the coconut, and the pieces of nougat added a little extra sugar buzz. Plus, I just like the word "nougat."
Milk and white chocolate with gummy bears, star decorations, Bourbon vanilla.
A thin layer of milk chocolate enrobed one side of the otherwise white chocolate bar, which I liked, and the vanilla didn't overpower it at all. I added the star decorations because once as a kid, I got in trouble for eating them out of the bottle.
I was pleased that the bars were as tasty as I'd hoped. Chocri also gave me three other sample bars with various toppings for comparison, and while I wouldn't have thought so, dried apple bits on chocolate is actually pretty good.
The site has clean, intuitive controls and keeps a tally of your selections. To remove an ingredient, click on it. Bam. No hassle. As with other customization sites I've checked out, the experience is pretty painless. Sure, I was impatient to get my chocolate, but remember, it's coming from Germany. Plus I have instant-gratification issues. Microwave popcorn takes too long to cook for me.
If you are a nut for chocolate (see what I did there?), you'll likely spend hours coming up with various chocolate concoctions. And if you really like one, you can reorder it without having to re-create it by entering the bar's reorder code.