Ramblings of General Geekery

A Tribute To Great Chocolate

I love chocolate. I wish more people talked about chocolate the way many talk about beers or coffee. I wish more coffee shops and restaurants and social gatherings offered hot chocolate. I wish there was more good chocolate being consumed by everyone out there! Thankfully, my own home is well stocked, in big part thanks to Origins Chocolate Bar, our provider of choice here around Vancouver, BC. They’re located in the New Westminster River Market, but they also offer monthly subscription boxes delivered to our front door. We’ve been subscribed for a couple years, and… well, I’ve been saving all the chocolate wrappers for this project: a mosaic tribute to great chocolate!

Here’s how it went. If you just want to see the result, skip to the bottom!

Sorting Through The Pile

The first step was of course to secure a large frame, and to unbox all the chocolate wrappers to see what we’re dealing with. There was a lot… my kid exclaimed “I didn’t realize we were such fans of chocolate!”

A big pile of chocolate wrappers

Every month I kept these chocolate wrappers, I did some basic culling to remove the duplicates, since there are a few bars we love to take on a regular basis in addition to the subscription box. But even then, we had many wrappers for a few given brands that we enjoy. For example, Askinosie makes dark chocolate of varying subtle flavours — it’s good stuff if you want diverse experiences without going to crazy:

Several wrappers for Askinosie bars

On the other hand, Qantu does get crazy, including a goat milk chocolate that hits you pretty hard (not pictured below because we were still sorting through the pile when I took the picture).

A few wrappers for Qantu wrappers

Chocolat Bonnat is another great brand of nice and smooth chocolate, coming to us from my French motherland. Sadly, Origins Chocolate has been having some import middleman problems and they haven’t been able to offer any Chocolat Bonnat for several months… sad face. I hope this gets resolved eventually.

A handful of Chocolat Bonnat wrappers

I love the design of Marou’s bars. They’re based in Vietnam, and they tend to have strong, dry dark chocolate:

Half a dozen Marou wrappers

Mirzam is a recent addition to our rotation. They’re from Dubai, with also great wrapper designs, and a good variety of tastes:

A handful Mirzam wrappers

Seeing all those great wrappers month after month is what gave me the idea to make a mosaic. But remember that these chocolate bars don’t stop being good looking once you open them… they often have great designs inside too, all the way to the engravings in the chocolate itself! I posted about this a few weeks ago actually, with the relevant photos reproduced below:

The interior of a Caputos wrapper
A Caputos chocolate bar

Tiers of Chocolate

The first thing we did was to separate the chocolate wrapper in three categories:

  • Tier One: the chocolate from the brands we know well and love. We had many wrappers for those, as you can see above, so we picked two wrappers for each brand.
  • Tier Two: the chocolate from the brands we know but don’t necessarily remember very well. We trimmed those down to one wrapper each.
  • Tier Three: the chocolate from the brands we don’t remember much about. Some of them are even wrappers for the couple of very rare chocolates we didn’t like at all. We threw them all on a separate pile and decided we would pick at random from it until the frame was full.
A pile of partially sorted chocolate wrappers

Gluing Things Randomly

The next step was of course to start gluing the chocolate wrappers to the backing board I built. We started from the centre, with the Tier One chocolates. We vaguely tried to think about the arrangement of shapes and colours but, frankly, we just put down things at random while simply trying to not place similar-looking wrappers (including wrappers of the same brand) too close to each other.

The beginning of the mosaic

The tricky thing was to fill up any white space between the wrappers. We used some basic school glue, and only glued the centre part of the wrapper to give ourselves some wiggle room when it came to which one goes over or under the surrounding ones. I would often cut the cover of the wrapper by including some of the wrap-around parts in order to help fill any gaps. Those wrappers that go “under” would stay unfolded, while those that go “over” would get folded to have visible “borders”.

For instance, you can see in the photo above that the Fjak wrapper at the top is “unfolded”, because we planned to put the next wrappers over it. The Hummingbird Zorzal one in the bottom left is folded because it would stay on top (except for the Mirzam which is even more on top).

This step took more time that I thought because it became quickly tricky to figure out what wrappers to pick next. Shape and size were the main factors here to try and limit empty spaces.

After the Tier One pile was exhausted, we glued all the Tier Two wrappers around them. At this point, we only had a bit of space around the frame and randomly picked from the Tier Three pile. We let ourselves go “outside” of the frame, with wrappers partially hanging out of the board.

Trimming The Borders

After all the gluing was done, we put the plastic frame “window” on top of the mosaic, and marvelled at the almost-finished work:

Almost finished mosaic

As you can seem many wrappers stick out of the frame. We placed a bunch of heavy books and boxes on top of the window and cut everything to fit:

Cutting the wrappers that stick out

The End Result

After some tense operation to mount this all inside the frame, we had completed our work! Here it is below:

Here’s a close-up:

It now hangs proudly just behind my workstation in the basement:

I can now salivate all day long!