Few treats are quite as inviting as rich, decadent chocolates. That familiar, sweet scent. The lure of its velvety texture. The promise of a few moments of the unique pleasure the mouthwatering morsels will bring.
What could possibly make this bite-sized treat even more appetizing? A presentation that gets chocolate out of the box and on full display. The A-Maze-ing Chocolate Server does just that, and offers a clever solution when it comes to stashing those leftover wrappers.
“We wanted to create a presentation worthy of chocolate, because chocolate is amazing,” said UncommonGoods’ Senior Product Development Associate Tiffany Jyang, who worked on creating the design for our Uncommon Collection.
The initial idea for the piece was, in part, based on the success of other Uncommon Collection items that offer unique serving solutions. Products like the Pistachio Pedestal, Popcorn Bowl with Kernel Sifter, and Cheese & Crackers Serving Board are all unique presentation options that each tackle an entertaining challenge-discarding nutshells, dealing with pesky unpopped kernels, and keeping enough cheese and crackers on deck to keep snackers satisfied. With these designs in mind, the Product Development team thought about other ways to improve the presentation of foods frequently served at dinner parties and cocktail hours.
“Sometimes there’s an excess something that you don’t want to carry around at a party or stick in your pocket,” Tiffany explained. “In [the case of chocolates] it’s the wrapper. This [server] is an all-in-one solution.”
Once the team landed on the idea to create a design for chocolate serving, the next step was to identify how to create a truly special presentation. To develop the concept, we enlisted the expertise of J.K. Adams Company, the folks who helped create the Pistachio Pedestal and the Cheese & Crackers Serving Board.
J.K. Adams’ Product Designer Casper Crouse and his team were quick to accept the challenge. “We’re always excited to work with the Product Development team at UncommonGoods,” he said. “We’ve had great success collaborating with them in the past and they have a keen eye for identifying unique problems or opportunities in the market. We thought the general idea for a chocolate server offered some interesting opportunities for problem-solving and serving a fun treat. Who doesn’t enjoy chocolate?”
The designers at J.K. Adams came up with several basic concepts, including some made from different materials. Wood was chosen for its comforting feel, durability, and warm tones that complement chocolate’s richness. It’s also easy to clean, which was also a factor the team took into consideration.
The teams at J.K. Adams and here at UncommonGoods collaborated frequently over a period of about two and a half months to refine the design, from major changes to small adjustments, until they reached a final product that everyone agreed chocolate lovers would love.
The first variation of the server was based on a candy dish, with an open space for placing the chocolates. Later versions incorporated ways to arrange the chocolates in interesting ways. “The product went through a number of design iterations before we landed on the final product,” Casper explained. “At each stage we vet all the aspects of the design internally, offer our insight and findings to UG, and get critical feedback from their product development team. The end result is a product of considerable collaboration that each team can take great pride in.”
The process may have been meticulous, but both teams did get a pretty exciting perk during product testing. “We ate so much chocolate. We tested it with different types of chocolate to tweak the size of the maze, the curves in the design, and the wrapper compartment,” said Tiffany.
Casper added, “Hands-on testing is always the best, but this time it was really sweet (pun fully intended)… We wanted to make sure many varieties would be presented in an attractive way. Needless to say, we may have overdone it a little on the testing since a few of us did get a little tired of chocolate by the end of the project.”
If right now you’re thinking that it’s hard to believe that anyone could get tired of chocolate, the A-Maze-ing Chocolate Server is a must-have for your serveware collection. As Tiffany points out, it was really designed with the “hardcore chocolate fan” in mind, but is also great for the host or hostess who loves presenting party favorites in appealing ways, but isn’t exactly a food stylist.
Tiffany set a scenario those chocolate lovers and party planners will all get behind: “You have your dinner party for 6-8 people and someone brings wine and someone brings a box of chocolates. After dinner you break out that wine, and maybe some coffee, and the chocolates. The A-Maze-ing Chocolate Server lets you present those chocolates in a nice way and the group can enjoy them as the conversation flows through the evening.”
We agree that we’d like an invite to that party as well!