As soon as you walk into Compartes in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, you're hit with the intoxicating smell of chocolate from handmade, tattoo-topped truffles, chocolate-dipped fruit and a new line of bars. The recently redesigned space—sleek and mostly black—provides a sophisticated backdrop for the colorful sweets, and a wide window showcases the chocolate-making in action for passers-by.
Compartes' own Willy Wonka, chocolatier Jonathan Grahm, is set to launch the 24 new chocolate bars after more than two years of tinkering. What began as a fun project quickly became an almost obsessive search for nostalgic, Americana flavors for his "Infinite Dream" collection as well as global ingredients for the "World Series."
"World Series" bars contain exotic flavors from 13 different countries from single-origin Peruvian chocolate in the Peruvian Andes bar to the Egyptian Treasure's blend of rose and pistachio and ginger and lemongrass in the Thai Wonder. Inspired by world travel, the packaging incorporates indigenous original patterns, prints and art coupled with flavor profiles and ingredients from those countries.
The 11 chocolate bars in the "Infinite Dream" series bring together flavors that celebrate the nostalgia of Compartes' 62-year history. "The concept behind this line is my own personal dreams, dreams we held dear when we were children," explains Grahm, adding, "the allure and romanticism associated with both those dreams and the glamor of Hollywood and love." The Old Hollywood bar comes packaged in a custom art deco pattern based on vintage sconces. Conjuring up a specific era the dark chocolate bar is infused with smoked sea salt that, according to Grahm, "recalls the days of smokey blues and cigars."
Other fantastical concoctions include the American Dream, a crunch bar with homemade puffed rice and dark chocolate that puts an elegant twist on the classic candy bar and the Coney Island, a mix of milk chocolate and caramelized waffle cone with packaging featuring amusement parks and unicorns with ice cream cone horns. In the Cereal Bowl bar, crisp cornflakes float around a swirly white chocolate. Grahm named the deep, dark chocolate bar infused with whiskey The Nightcap. On the wrapper, muted neon signs evoke a late-night bar.
Images courtesy of Compartes