Monday, May 23, 2022

The production of Compartés’ Jinx and Vi ‘Arcane’ chocolate bars

Imagine if Riot Games asked you to introduce the main characters of their upcoming Netflix hit series “Arcane” to a worldwide audience. But not as art or poetry or TikTok dance – as a chocolate bar. Now imagine that instead of having to watch the whole show for inspiration, you just got a few short scenes.

That was exactly the situation in which Jonathan Grahm, owner, CEO and chief chocolatier of Compartés Chocolate, found himself in mid-2021. But while he said it was a complicated question, it reflected the complexities of Jinx and Vi.

The arcane bars of Jinx and Vi have moved out
Jinx is an intricate character who is reflected in the complexity of her Compartés chocolate bar. | Photo by Parkes Ousley

“Arcane” is a show about these two sisters and their home in the poor, forgotten part of Piltover. Jinx starts out sweet and innocent, but a tragic accident plunges her into a complicated jumble of chaotic anger. A little troublemaker from the start, Vi has good intentions to protect her family. Unfortunately, after losing years of her youth in a Piltover prison, she emerges into a changed world that leaves her a little lost and confused. Capturing these personas on screen is hard enough, but turning them into flavors is a whole other challenge.

Given the great task, Grahm was ready. He is has been making chocolate for Compartés since he was 15 years old and bought the company from his family nine years later. Since then, he and Compartés have grown together and are essentially preparing for such challenges.

“The brand matures and develops and takes shape, just like I do,” explained Grahm.

In 2021 he evolved in a completely new and unexpected way – he brought the animated characters of “Arcane” to life through chocolate.

Overperformance in the most delicious way

Riot announced the Compartés Jinx and Vi Bars on November 3rd, just days before the show’s release. And when Arcane began illuminating nightly living room backdrops around the world, Compartés was almost sold out on its first foray into the gaming world.

“We’re almost on the verge of being sold out,” Grahm said before the show was released. “We have already sold thousands of bars in just 24 hours. I think it’s really a record for our limited edition Compartés bar sales. “

Both arcane chocolate bars from compartes
Many customers bought 20, 30 and even up to 50 bars at once, which Compartés has not really seen before. | Photo by Parkes Ousley

But selling a full set of limited edition bars in one day wasn’t just sheer luck – it was a reflection of the work that went into the project. After Riot Compartés called and introduced them to the concept, they spent months developing, iterating, and refining ideas to create the final strawberry and green tea, “Flame Chompers!” Bars and sea salt and gold-decorated “Vault Breaker” bars for Jinx and Vi.

This effort is standard for Comparté, said Grahm, as the company is incredibly thoughtful and focused on every decision it makes – from flavor profiles to ingredients to packaging and more. Grahm described their chocolate as an art, and said Riot was excited to work with them because of this.

“We don’t just slap a name on the product and say, ‘This is an’ arcane ‘bar, here’s a graphic,’” said Grahm. “We really created a candy bar that lives in this ‘Arcane’ / League of Legends world.”

Vis Bar is fat, just like her. | Photo by Parkes Ousley

Compartés designed each bar with its respective “Arcane” character in order to create a multi-sensory and complex chocolate through a multi-faceted approach to collaboration. Grahm also wanted to make sure that the bars were not only fun and funky but also accessible.

“Maybe you’ve never eaten gold before, here’s your chance,” he said. “But dark chocolate and sea salt are flavors that everyone understands. It’s not a strange taste that we create and that we ask people to try. “

The arcane bars of Jinx and Vi have moved out
The back of the Vi Bar is covered in edible gold flakes and sea salt. | Photo by Parkes Ousley

Despite their limited information, the team really hit the characters. The Jinx bar tastes sweet from the strawberry, but bitter and caffeinated from the matcha, and everything is whirled together. The two flavors are each their own, but they’re also impossible to separate as they perfectly portray Jinx’s internal struggles throughout the show.

Vis Bar, on the other hand, is made from dark chocolate, which reflects their darker and more straightforward personality. It’s sprinkled with gold flakes across the bar, indicating its prestige and connection to Piltover’s best. Of course, Vi is also known for being incredibly salty, she’s always upset about something.

High quality ingredients make high quality chocolate

While the design of the “Arcane” chocolate bars is one thing, the company was only able to bring these flavors to life because Grahm said he is meticulous in every aspect of his chocolate making process. For him, it’s not just about finding pairs of flavors, but also about the quality and sourcing of these ingredients and how to use them.

Grahm said he was adamant about using only the highest quality ingredients available, regardless of the cost. He buys Compartés fruits whenever he can at farmers markets and tries to buy organic spices whenever they are available. And for the Jinx bar, he imported the highest quality matcha from Japan.

The chocolate itself comes for ethical reasons – another important requirement for the company. Grahm has also hired a printing company that uses non-toxic inks in all packaging in order to be more environmentally friendly.

the Jinx Arkane chocolate bar by compartes
The inks are really environmentally friendly, aren’t they? | Photo by Parkes Ousley / Upcomer

Compartés is purely natural in many ways, avoiding everything from oils or other flavorings in its products to the machinery and conveyor belts that are so commonplace in 21st century manufacturing.

“We have a team of 20 people who do everything by hand from scratch,” said Grahm.

As head chocolatier, Grahm is even involved in the most delicate and noble parts of the creation of her chocolate bars.

“I actually twirled every single bar and we made thousands of bars – five thousand bars,” he said.

All of this sincere dedication to perfection reflects Grahm’s hope and goal for the company: to be everyone’s ideal destination for the best chocolate. At least the “Arcane” chocolate bars are a great gift.

“It’s the perfect Christmas present and the perfect $ 10 stocking to get that really special League bar for people,” said Grahm.

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