I’ve been a fan of Cool Hunting’s video series but I think this one takes the cake… er, chocolate bar. This time around they’re profiling the Mast Brothers, Michael and Rick, who are small-batch chocolate makers working out of Brooklyn. They make all of the chocolate from just cocoa bean and sugar to make their chocolate, so it’s as pure as it can get.
It’s really interesting to see the entire process of how they make their chocolate, which seems to me like it’s a lot like making better, only it’s a faster process. I also think it’s pretty rad to see more people taking this kind of production into their own hands. It’s like a real DIY succes story.
To be honest, I don’t need much coaxing to eat sweets, and when confronted with a bar of chocolate that literally invites me to take a bite, I feel it would be terribly impolite to not have a small nibble. Not that you need much convincing to eat one of the delicacies from Chocolate Editions by Mary & Matt.
Claiming that their products are “a celebration of the candy bar as a perfect pop object”, their chocolates are engraved with tongue-in-cheek statements such as “Eat Me” and “Sweet Thing.” As if that’s not enough, they transform the humble chocolate bar into an edible canvas with fields of colour that are reminiscent of Mark Rothko’s abstract paintings. Mary & Matt use quality ingredients to make chocolate bars that are miniature artworks, for both the eyes and the taste buds.
The featured chocolate bars are the Milk Bar (milk chocolate), the Chocolate Pie Chart (dark, milk and white chocolate), and the Neapolitan Bar (dark and white chocolate and natural strawberry ingredients). I discovered Mary & Matt’s chocolate bars through Third Drawer Down, but they also sell their products directly through their site.
I love good architecture based around food and I think Outsider Tart have done an amazing job with their London shop. Created by Americans David Lesniak and David Muniz, Outsider Tart was created because “good, wholesome, home made cupcakes, sweet pies and fresh tarts were hard to come by.”
While the treats look delicious I’m drooling over the interior design. From the reclaimed wood shelves to the funky metal ceiling, and of course, those beautiful light up arrows. The space has that perfect blend of old and new, making it feel fresh but with a comfortable, worn-in feeling.
A few hundred years ago settlers picked up the recipe for a beverage called Root Tea, which was the combination of roots, spices and herbs that fermented and became alcoholic. A couple hundred years later prohibition started to kick in so Root Beer was created to fill the gap of this product, recreating the flavor it lacked the alcholic contents. Cut to present day where Art in the Age have decided to start creating Root Tea again, alcohol content and all, calling it simply Root.
I actually tweeted about Root and the folks over at Art in the Age sent me an entire bottle to sample, which totally surprised me, I was expecting one of those tiny, hotel sized bottles. Upon opening the bottle I couldn’t quite place the smell, though it was frustratingly familiar. Of course that smell was root beer, but more like a full bodied, pungent root beer smell. You might even say it was a little magical, like something you might read about it in Harry Potter.
Tasting it is quite a treat, and though it’s similar to root beer, it’s nothing like it. Root beer is overly sweet and fizzy, while Root is deep and full-bodied to taste. I can definitely taste the anise, and maybe a bit of the lemon, though it’s really hard to put a label on the exact flavor. Honestly it tastes like herbs and roots, which is a wonderful thing to try. I’ve been drinking it with Hendricks, bitters and a bit of tonic water to even things out. The first night I had one of those I was warm and toasty for the rest of the night.
I think what’s really exciting about Root is that no one (to my knowledge) is making a product like this. I didn’t even know anything like this existed until a few weeks ago. This novelty is definitely a part of it’s allure, but I can definitely say that the flavor is amazing and something that’s worth trying.
Plus look at that bottle! How rad is the design? I think if you brought this to a party or gave this to someone as a present you’d win major bonus points. I’m going to have to bring my bottle to work, otherwise my co-workers might beat me up.
Whenever there are new TED Talks it’s always interesting to see who ends up speaking and finding the most interesting of conversations. I think this year there was easily one man that caught my attention the most, and that would be chef Jamie Oliver. I remember Mr. Oliver from his very first cooking show, The Naked Chef, which I was quite excited about because he’s very cute, but sadly he was never cooking in the nude, no matter how dangerous that may be.
The reason Mr. Oliver was speaking was because he’s currently trying to fight the rising tide of obesity here in the United States and across the world. Obesity is becoming one of the major causes of death around the world and especially here in the States and this is because of a few reasons. The first is that our diets are comprised of mostly fast food.
100 years ago if you were overweight it was a sign of wealth, that you were able to feed yourself well and probably ate three meals a day. These days it’s the exact opposite. Fast food has given the country an endless supply of calories to consume, thus getting fat, while the wealthy are able to by organically grown produce and eat finely crafted, healthy meals which keeps them trim.
As Mr. Oliver points out this isn’t entirely our fault. There’s a severe lack of knowledge about food and options when it comes to fast food and the foods we can buy at grocery stores. Basically we’re killing ourselves because of our diets and something needs to change.
I’ve kind of just summed up the main ideas but I implore you to take 20 minutes and watch the video above. I cooked all of my meals yesterday, thinking about each ingredient I used and checking every label, seeing just what I was consuming.
There have been some interesting redesigns over the last week so I thought I’d talk about a couple more. Last year on Boxing Day beer brand Molson Canadian rolled out a redesigned label, ditching that moist leaf (ew) and slanted type for something more traditional, and well, awesome looking. The new design looks crisp and ageless, like the logo has been that way forever.
The redesign was done by Spring Design Partners and I think they’ve launched this brand in the right direction. It definitely falls in line with the heritage style of branding that’s quite popular right now in all fields, but this feels so much better than the previous version. I still can’t get over that slightly italicized font on the old label. One detail that I think is pretty rad is that each letter alternates between red and blue… how many other brands can you think of that still do that?
Sadly though, their website uses Flash and still has the old branding. Boo.
I’ve decided today is all about color, I’m feeling in a vibrant mood. I think I came across these milk packages on FFFFound which lead me to a site called Re:collection, which describes itself as “an online archive of Australian graphic design: 1960 – 1980.” It’s a really great site filled with some really wonderful items, but these milk boxes really caught my attention.
Could you imagine buying milk as a 7 year old and having these pop up in front of you? I think I would have been trying to paint masterpieces or redesigning the school newspaper at an early age. It just goes to show that you can sneak good design into the most (seemingly) ordinary objects.
My buddy Dave Franzese sent me an email with a hysterical little promotional video his studio Dark Igloo did for New York eatery The Pump and I can’t stop laughing. The video centers around the fictitious Crap corporation, with ads featuring Crap being put on all manners of foods and made to look like modern day twists on old advertisements.
When watching the video you should watch all the way through the first time, then watch again but pause each at each new scenario so you can read the copy that was written, it’s really funny. The ads themselves area also really well done, looking like something you’ve definitely seen before but with a more demented angle to them all.