Food

Chocolate, Reinvented

Published

What do you get when you cross a Dutch designer with a Swiss molecular biologist and a German chocolatier?

A chocolate mill that promises to "generate a new ritual" in chocolate eating.

Meet the chocolate fountain for the 21st century, the chocolate mill, above

Dutch designer Wieki Somers has collaborated with Rafael Mutter, one of the best chocolatiers in Europe, to create a steel chocolate grinder that peels tissue-thin layers off a huge block of the delicious 100-kilogram cocoa mass, producing a flip-book style effect as it spins.

Using a machine adapted from a Swiss cheese slicer, Somers and Mutter worked alongside molecular biologists to develop the chocolate mill, which unveils geometric patterns as it scrapes off each chocolate layer.

The spinning action gives off a mysterious kaleidoscopic effect in two animations - one in which African Bobo masks emerge (cocoa pickers believe they have a special power to bring a good harvest). The other shows a dancing, with the carousel's handle representing the handle on a music box.

Somers explained, "We designed the chocolate which the machine processes by inserting memories into it like fossils. Thus the three-dimensional aspect of the carousel is extended by a fourth: time and history translated through movement. By rotating the carousel's arm, one image appears while another fades away."

And the inspiration behind the dream machine?

"We sometimes forget how astounding it is, it has been a long time since chocolate was a rare substance; a sacred drink, a medicine," Somers said. "We wanted to inject a new excitement and enjoyment into chocolate by changing some rules and generating a new ritual: a new way of eating and sharing chocolate."

Watch a mesmerising, speeded-up version of the chocolate mill process, below...

Chocolate Mill from Wieki Somers on Vimeo.

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Words: Anna Pollitt, Pictures: Wieki Somers