Over the summer, I had the pleasure of combining two of my favorite things. Chocolate and art! I attended a hands-on art class at the Craft in America study center and got to paint and design chocolate wrappers with none other than Compartés Chocolatier owner, Jonathan Grahm.
Specializing in hand crafted, gourmet, organic chocolates, Compartés is also known for their cool looking, artsy wrappers.
That afternoon, we made our very own chocolate bar wrappers using a monotype printing process and I was instantly transformed into 10-year-old Amy, back in grade school art class. Yay Art!
So, how does art end up on the chocolate? The designs are first printed and then transferred on with ink that is made with edible powdered cocoa butter. It melts directly onto the chocolate. After the art is printed, the shell is made and then they pipe in the ganache filling. No machines or conveyor belts, it’s all done by hand.
Compartés is a very “Los Angeles” brand. I asked Jonathan how he, at 28-years-old ended up with a chocolate company. He explained that when he was 14, his family, who also owns a winery in Santa Cruz, purchased Compartés from the original owner, the actual Mrs. Comparte. He said that he wanted to be creative and “bring chocolate back down to earth… make it cool again.” About 2 1/2 years ago, the chocolates were rebranded with a fresh, hip twist.
As we painted, we sampled various decadent truffles; brown butter, mexican hot chocolate, caramel brulee, raspberry rose, peanut butter honey salt…
Mostly sourcing single origin chocolate from South America, Compartés is one of the top ten artisan chocolate makers in the country.
During the class, printmaker Christina Carroll taught us the fundamentals of the monotype printing process. It involves drawing or painting on a non-absorbent surface (we used plexiglass) and then transferring the image on to paper by pressing the two together. Here, Christina shows me how to run my design through the press…
It wasn’t as hard as I’m making it look!
We were supposed to then wrap the candy bars with our art piece-wrapper, but most of everyone (including me) just wanted to eat the chocolate right away! So we did. And I later just put the art on my refrigerator. Look what I painted ma!
I found this class a great way to spend an afternoon channelling my inner artist. Wanna get your creative juices flowing? Check out the Craft in America Study Center calendar for up and coming fun events and art talks!