12-23 ChocoFoil

[Image above] The ChocoFoil is the first commercially available film that allows consumers to create shimmery patterns on chocolate. Credit: ChocoFoil (© ChocoFoil 2020)

As 2020 winds to a close, I know many of us look forward to 2021 with hope that it will be a little quieter and more stable than this past year.

From natural disasters including raging bushfires, hurricanes, and locust swarms to the social and political responses to a global pandemic and racial justice protests, 2020 has left many people significantly more anxious—at a time when critical mental health services have been disrupted or halted in 93% of countries worldwide.

There are no quick fixes for the emotional burnout that many of us are facing. However, making time in your schedule for self-care is a necessity, as many health organizations have strongly recommended since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While best self-care practices depend on the person, one option that helps a lot of people is indulging moderately in comfort foods, such as chocolate. And a special way to make chocolate is the focus of today’s CTT.

Shimmery chocolate: Create color through structure

When people think of color, they often imagine shelves lined with jars full of pigments comprising many hues. However, infusing a material with pigment is not the only way to create color.

For example, structural coloration is the production of color through the interaction of light with micro- and nanostructured surfaces. Some animals, notably butterflies, get their shimmery colors from structural coloration.

I highlighted the use of structural coloration to create shimmery chocolate in February, when researchers at ETH Zurich explored imprinting chocolate using a special mold. According to the ETH press release, they planned to establish a spin-​off company to sell the shimmery chocolate.

However, it looks like the ETH researchers were beaten to the punch, based on a news release published by the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) this month.

ChocoFoil: Easily create shimmery chocolate at home

The CSEM news release announces the commercial launch of ChocoFoil, a nanostructured film of recyclable plastic that easily imprints diffraction patterns on slightly melted chocolate.

ChocoFoil is the brainchild of two brothers, Sandro and Marc Zinggeler. Sandro is a chef and culinary artist working in Zurich, and Marc is a CSEM engineer conducting research at the crossroads of chemistry, biology, and microsystems engineering.

Marc and other researchers at CSEM previously worked on using nanostructures to generate color patterns for printed security marks on banknotes and passports. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Marco and Sandro decided to team up with their friend Stefan Gaugler, who specializes in international sales, to use this technique on chocolate instead.

According to the press release, “Although the production of rainbow chocolate has been demonstrated by other technology companies and research institutes, ChocoFoil is the first supplier with a product on the market using this completely new technology.”

The video below shows how to apply the film, which is available for purchase in Switzerland and the European Union. Unfortunately, it is not available yet in the United States, so let’s hope it makes its way here soon!

Credit: ChocoFoil, YouTube