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:
Copy Editors' Breakfast
Milk chocolate with sprinkles, cinnamon corn flakes, cinnamon, Bourbon vanilla.
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.
Pretty sweet, no?