Imagine if Riot Games asked you to introduce the main characters of their upcoming Netflix series, âArcane,â to a global audience. But not like a TikTok art, poem, or dance – like a chocolate bar. Now imagine that instead of letting you watch the whole series for inspiration, you only have a few short scenes.
This is exactly the situation Jonathan Grahm, owner, CEO and chef chocolatier of CompartÃ©s Chocolate found himself in mid-2021. But while he said it was a complicated request, it reflected the complexity of Jinx and Vi.
“Arcane” is a show about these two sisters and their home in the poor and forgotten neighborhood of Piltover. Jinx starts out sweet and innocent, but a tragic accident turns her into a complicated mess of chaotic rage. Vi has been a bit of a troublemaker from the start, but has good intentions based on the safety of his family. Sadly, after wasting years of her youth in a Piltover prison, she emerges into a changed world that leaves her a bit lost and confused. Capturing these characters onscreen is hard enough, but turning them into likes is a whole different kind of challenge.
Considering the heavy task, Graham was ready. He has been making chocolate for CompartÃ©s since the age of 15 and bought the company from his family nine years later. Since then he and CompartÃ©s have grown up together, essentially preparing for challenges like this.
âIn fact, the brand matures, evolves and takes shape like me,â Grahm explained.
In 2021, it evolved in an entirely new and unexpected way – bringing the animated characters of “Arcane” to life through chocolate.
Outperform in the tastiest way
Riot announced the Jinx and Vi CompartÃ© bars on November 3, just days before the show’s release. And as Arcane began to light up the sets of nightlife shows across the world, CompartÃ©s nearly sold off its entire stock with its first foray into the gaming world.
âWe’re pretty much on the verge of selling,â Grahm said ahead of the show’s release. âWe have already sold thousands of bars in just 24 hours. I think that’s a record for our sales of CompartÃ©s bars for a limited edition, really.
But selling a full set of limited edition bars in one day wasn’t just pure luck, it was a reflection of the hard work that went into the project. After Riot called Compartes and introduced them to the concept, they spent months imagining, iterating, and tweaking to come up with the final âFlame Chompers!â with strawberry and green tea! “Vault Breaker” bar and bar adorned with sea salt and gold for Jinx and Vi, respectively.
This amount of effort is standard for CompartÃ©s, said Grahm, as the company is incredibly purposeful and determined with every decision it makes – from flavor profiles to ingredients, to packaging and more. Grahm described their chocolate as art and said Riot was thrilled to collaborate with them for this reason.
âWe don’t just put a name on the product and say, ‘This is an’ Arcane ‘bar, here’s a graphic,â Grahm said. “We really created a chocolate bar that lives in this ‘Arcane’ / League of Legends world.”
CompartÃ©s designed each bar with its respective âarcaneâ character in mind to create a multisensory and complex chocolate through a multifaceted approach to collaboration. Grahm also wanted to make sure the bars weren’t just fun and funky, but accessible.
âMaybe you’ve never eaten gold before, here’s your chance,â he said. âBut dark chocolate and sea salt is a flavor that everyone understands. It’s not some weird flavor that we create that we ask people to try.
Even with their limited information, the team really nailed the characters. The Jinx bar tastes sweet of strawberry but bitter and caffeinated of matcha, and everything is mixed up. The two flavors are each their own, but they are also impossible to separate, perfectly representing Jinx’s internal struggles throughout the series.
Vi’s bar, on the other hand, is made from dark chocolate, reflecting his darker and direct personality. It’s sprinkled with gold glitter on the bar, reminiscent of its prestige and connection to the best of Piltover. Of course, Vi is also known to be insanely salty, she is always upset about something.
Quality ingredients make quality chocolate
While conceptualizing ‘Arcane’ chocolate bars is one thing, the company was only able to achieve these flavors because Grahm said he was meticulous in all aspects of his chocolate making process. For him, it’s not just about finding flavor matches, but also the quality and sourcing of these ingredients and the way they are handled.
Grahm said he persists in using only the highest-end ingredients available, regardless of the cost. He buys CompartÃ©s fruits from farmers’ markets when he can and tries to buy organic spices as soon as they are available. And for the Jinx bar, he imported the highest quality matcha from Japan.
Chocolate itself, on the other hand, is ethically sourced – another important requirement for the business. Grahm also hired a printer who uses safe inks in all of their packaging to be more environmentally friendly.
In many ways, CompartÃ©s is all natural, avoiding everything from oils or other flavors in their products to the machines and conveyor belts that are so common in 21st century production.
âWe have a team of 20 people who make everything from scratch by hand,â Grahm said.
Grahm himself is involved in even the most delicate and valuable parts of creating their candy bars as chief chocolatier.
âI actually swirled every bar and we made thousands of bars – five thousand bars,â he said. “So I stood there for two days swirling around just to make sure the bars were perfect and beautiful.”
All this sincere dedication to perfection is a reflection of Grahm’s hope and purpose for the company: to be the ideal destination for all for the best of the best chocolate. At least, he said, “Arcane” chocolate bars make a great gift.
âIt’s the perfect Christmas present and stocking stuffer for $ 10 to get that really special League bar for people,â Grahm said.