For as long as chef Lisa Vega has been with Dandelion Chocolate, Maybe The Very Best Chocolate Chip Cookie has been part of our DNA. For years, our chocolate chips were made in-house by the kitchen team, who hand-piped over 50 pounds of tempered discs a week. That is, until recently, when the Large Chip was born.
To learn the “making of” story we spoke with Remy Labesque, a talented industrial designer and good friend of ours who collaborated with Chef Lisa and the production team to make the perfect chocolate chip. Remy met Todd when he attended a Chocolate 101 class some years ago and so began a lasting friendship. Remy was working at Frog Design at the time (he’s now at Tesla) and he jumped at the opportunity to re-design the chocolate chip.
When the large chip was launched in May, Remy walked us through his creative process which led to the birth of these geometric beauties.
“The chip project began about three years ago. If my memory serves me, it was driven in large part by pastry chef Lisa Vega, who wanted something specifically tailored for her recipes. There are two chip designs: large and small (the large was released first, and the small will be at a later date). Their mass (3.5 grams and 0.8 grams, respectively), was driven by Lisa, and the prototypes were tested along the way in her recipes as part of the R&D process. Another consideration was that we also needed something that could be enjoyed as a chocolate-eating experience completely by itself — that’s where our unique shape comes into play.
“The shape of a typical store-bought chocolate chip is an arbitrary result of the industrial manufacturing process used to make it. As you might expect, a drop of molten chocolate is deposited onto a flat surface and left to cool. Chocolate chip taste varies widely by brand, but the shape of the chips does not.
“The shape of our chip is faceted: The edges of a Dandelion Chocolate chip taper to thin-as-we could-make-’em without compromising structure. This is because the thermal mass of a thin piece of chocolate melts more quickly on the palate. So when you put a Dandelion chip on your tongue, the thin, chiseled edges warm-to-melt nearly instantly. The 3D shape, while simple, we believe is also novel. And this is noteworthy because the world of industrial design is running out of simple forms that haven’t been claimed for something already. Beyond that we’re proud to have optimized the chocolate chip eating experience as a result of rethinking the humble shape itself.”
While the chip was created for baking, many of us at Dandelion Chocolate have reached for them to nibble because the mouthfeel is different from our bars; but make no mistake, there is nothing like the taste when these chips are baked in a gigantic chocolate chip cookie.
The chips are being released by origin, and the first two are especially suited to baking and confections:
Costa Esmeraldas from Ecuador, 70%, 2018 Harvest, with notes of chocolate buttercream frosting and banana; and Hacienda Azul from Costa Rica, 70%, 2019 Harvest, with notes of chocolate almond biscotti and buttery caramel.
We want to thank Remy for bringing his know-how and love of chocolate to the project. It’s great to finally to be able to share his story with you.