Posts tagged “chocolate”

Out and About: Steve in Melbourne

Here is the last post with highlights of my trip to Australia (see parts 1, 2 and 3, previously). Meanwhile, all my pictures are making their way to Flickr.


At the tram stop for the Children’s Hospital, the platform is filled with various cute “Dr. Jake” signs. I especially like transforming the transformer box into a height chart. Someone is thinking broadly about reframing the hospital from scary into welcoming and using the first point of entry – the tram stop – as the place to begin doing that.


Patience is a virtue. A post-design attempt to mollify confused users.



I could not figure out what the heck “Teady” referred to on this first truck. It wouldn’t be my first time encountering a word I didn’t understand (see “showbag” in an earlier post, say). But no, the adjacent truck says “Steady.” I went back and checked – did the initial S wear off? No, it was never there to begin with. The design – sans S – fits perfectly in the designated area on the first truck.


Bold language boldly presented.


Once again, weird people sculptures.


Free WiFi at the train station. Nice visual reference to many memes (e.g., Star Wars kid, the dancing baby, keyboard cat) as well as Facebook and Twitter.


ACDC lane. Yes, the official City of Melbourne lane commemorating ACDC.


Reminded me of a similar sign in San Francisco.


The menu at this restaurant offered beer in a pot or a beaker. I was further charmed by the use of familiar words with shifted meanings, as part of my foreigner’s journey. But no, the beaker is exactly what you’d think: a beaker.


More 8-bit-videogame streetart, although Mario instead of Space Invaders; stickers instead of tiles.


Many many flavors of hot chocolate at Chokolait. I must go back!


Indoor nighttime climbing wall.

ChittahChattah Quickies

Cross-sectional Chocolate [Edible Geography] – Here’s food science framed as both a structural design and experience design problem. See many delicious pictures at the original link.

Chocolate bar designers work with a limited repertoire of ingredients (nuts, crisped rice, chocolate, biscuit, coconut, nougat, and caramel), manipulated through technological innovation (enrobing, extruding, and moulding machines), to develop a wonderful variety of creamy, crunchy, tongue-coating creations.

Sometimes the design challenge is practical, as the Twix cross-section allows us to appreciate. The thin layer of chocolate between the shortbread finger and the caramel topping acts as architectural insulation, preventing water migrating from the caramel into the shortbread and softening it.

The Baby Ruth and 100 Grand bars demonstrate variations on the idea of a crispy/crunchy exterior surrounding a smooth interior, while the Oh Henry! and Snickers bars mix nuts with caramel above a smoother, denser layer of fudge or nougat, with the whole ensemble enrobed in a thin chocolate coating. The Lion bar combines both approaches, embedding a filled Kit-Kat-style wafer inside a 100 Grand exterior, turducken-style.

Mouth-feel, texture, taste, and even shareability are among the aspects of consumer experience that can be engineered through permutations of the basic chocolate bar template. The snap-off wafers of a Kit-Kat encourage more leisurely, social consumption, for example, while the interior chewiness of a Snickers creates a perception of satisfaction that the exterior crunch of a 100 Grand bar could never match.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Books Travellers Read in Mumbai Locals [Windy Skies] – This is Part I of my ongoing attempt to note the books my fellow travellers read in Mumbai local trains on their way to work and back. I ride the infamous Mumbai local train network to work each day, unconsciously observing my fellow passengers when I’m not squeezed breathless or pounded into submission in the surging crowds that bring a new meaning to the concept of pressure. While it is not always easy to move around once inside the train, it is sometimes possible to pull off a picture of the reader and his book. The readers will rarely look up from the books they’re reading. They don’t need to, tuned in as they are to approaching stations from years of travelling on the local train network.<br />
    (via Dina Mehta)
  • Duncan Hines Brownie Husband – [Saturday Night Live] – "The perfect blend of rich fudge and emotional intimacy." Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. (via Design Observer)

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Remixing Deep Dive Interviewing Secrets [Things On Top] – This remix of tweets from “Deep Dive Interviewing Secrets”, a UIE virtual seminar by Steve Portigal, gives you some of the answers. I missed out on Steve’s webinar, unfortunately, and decided to check out what others had tweeted about it using the hashtag #uievs. Luckily, there had been lots of activity and discussion, and I felt that Twitter provided me with quite a comprehensive summary of Steve’s stunning insights in to interview techniques. For my own sake and for future reference, I decided to compile that Twitter timeline in to a short document.
  • Remembrance of Candy Bars Past [WSJ.com] – These companies are the face of what the candy industry in America used to be. Each city or region had its own factories, and people could actually see and smell the place where their favorite sweets were made. Regional candies are a dying breed. Today, there are perhaps a dozen such concerns left in America. The rest have been swallowed up, or put out of business, by the massive consolidation that has shaped the modern confectionery industry. Thousands of candy bars have disappeared along the road to consolidation, including such recent delicacies as the peanut butter-and-chocolate pods known as Oompahs, the treacherously chewy Bit-o-Choc, the glorious, nougat-and-caramel-filled Milkshake, and the Bar None, an ingenious marriage of peanuts and wafers dipped in chocolate. Also gone (but not forgotten) is the curiously alluring Marathon Bar, a braided rope of chocolate and caramel whose wrapper featured a ruler on the back.

ChittahChattah Quickies

Chocolate and real estate

Just the other day, more news that dark chocolate can help lower pressure (seems like old news, but okay). Here’s how the SF Chron presented the story:
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Front page. Two columns. One of those columns is simply a (confusing) image of swirling chocolate, providing absolutely no information whatsoever. What the hell is the front page about, here? Advertisements, eye-candy imagery, very non-news stories.

Contrast the NYT treatment of the story:
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Tucked away on page 11. No hype or imagery. The front page of the New York Times is still for news, apparently.

Although these are both products in the same category (newspaper), they are really not the same kind of thing at all. Their purpose, intent, motivation, audience differ vastly. I need to stop thinking of them as a set of like items, because that lulls me (as the user) into a misleading state of expectation.

Help Lucky See The Future!


Yeah, dude. Keep eating sugar cereal like this and you’re going to have a serious diabetes problem. You already look like you’re suffering from ADD. You (or your guardian) might want to have a doctor check that out.

Milk: delicious but deadly

One of my favorite things to track down, foodwise, on a return trip to Canada, are milk drinks that are flavored like chocolate bars. They are amazing; they capture the exact taste of a specific chocolate bar in a completely different form factor. From a solid to a liquid, with the same mix of tastes. Last trip we tried the Rolo version.
rolo_large
It was as incredible as every other one I’ve tried. It tasted like a Rolo, but it was a liquid. I can’t stop repeating the superlatives and proclaiming the sensorial wonder of it all, sorry.

So it was cool to see that here in the US we’ve got a similar product available now.
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Milky Way and Three Musketeers. We bought both but have only tried the Milky Way. It’s good, but not stunning. It has the flavor components of Milky Way, but they don’t replicate the bar experience.

I am hopeful to see this category of product here in the US, though. Maybe we’ll get more of ’em, especially if they can figure out how to get it right.

New Yorker profiles Roald Dahl

From a lengthy New Yorker profile of Roald Dahl comes this story of a formative exposure to the notion that the products we experience are the result of conscious deliberate decisions by others, and that this is a process one can engage in.

He and the other boys at Repton also enjoyed a curious perk, courtesy of the Cadbury chocolate company. “Every now and again, a plain grey cardboard box was dished out to each boy in our House,” Dahl writes in Boy. Inside were eleven chocolate bars, aspirants to the Cadbury line. Dahl and the other boys got to rate the candy, and they took their task very seriously. (“Too subtle for the common palate” was one of Dahl’s assessments.) He later recalled this as the first time that he thought of chocolate bars as something concocted, the product of a laboratory setting, and the thought stayed with him until he invented his own crazy factory.

Dahl is brilliant at evoking the childhood obsession with candy, which most adults can recall only vaguely. In his books, candy is often a springboard for long riffs on imagined powers and possibilities. Far from being the crude ode to instant gratification that critics like Cameron detect, Dahl’s evocation of candy is an impetus to wonder. When Billy, the boy in The Giraffe, the Pelly, and Me (1985), opens his own candy shop–talk about wish fulfillment!–he orders confections from all over the world. “I can remember especially the Giant Wangdoodles from Australia, every one with a huge ripe red strawberry hidden inside its crispy chocolate crust,” he says. “And The Electric Fizzcocklers that made every hair on your head stand straight up on end. . . . There was a whole lot of splendid stuff from the great Wonka factory itself, for example the famous Willy Wonka Rainbow Drops–suck them and you can spit in seven different colours. And his stickjaw for talkative parents.” The word “confection” has a double meaning in Dahl’s world: candy is a source not only of sweetness but of creativity. On a field trip recently, I sat next to three nine-year-old boys who spent forty-five minutes in a Wonka-inspired reverie, inventing their own candies.

Fluff

Gorgeous new bakery on 9th ave in Manhattan, with an example of what I guess is a food trend – the Fwinkie, as they call it, an example of what a Twinkie would be if it was made by a baker and not a processed synthetic food shmechhghh company. They had regular, and chocolate (dipped in chocolate) – which is what this is. It was pretty good. Not freak-out good, but pretty good. Looked better than it tasted, I’d say.

A simple DIY ring

A simple DIY ring

Here’s an easy DIY ring that looks cool and takes seconds to make. In this era of ReadyMade magazine and being green and beauty is where you find it, why not, I ask you? Why not, indeed?


Take an ordinary unopened carton of some beverage. We used Chocolate Silk because it’s made with Real Soy and therefore must be good for you. Open up the screw-top lid.


The freshness seal is what you want. There’s our quarry!


Take the freshness seal off. You just might want to drink some of the soymilk at this point.


Voila!


Lovely. Oops, time for a manicure!

Series

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