in search of “1888”

(Updated 13 03 2014) In my previous post, I have provided reviews of Bremen’s Hachez chocolate, or at least of some of their products. We are unfortunately left with a feeling of high-cocoa deprivation and turn, saddened, to other options. One of these, as I have written earlier, is the brand 1888 by the Malmö chocolate factory (link fixed 13 03 2014. English page here).

This is a small company that specializes in no-nonsense high-end chocolate making, and boasts of being the only Swedish chocolate manufacturer that make chocolate “all the way from the cocoa bean.” I have now tested a little over half of their assortment and have only noted highest points, even for the Christmas-flavored kind (julchoklad med glöggkryddor). Many of Malmö Chokladfabrik’s kinds have a cocoa content of 70% and are conched for a looong time. Their quality is consistently very high; smooth and balanced, and none of that coconut-fibre taste that seems to characterize some of the other fancy kinds of niche chocolate. So how does one get hold of this extraordinary stuff?

Here in Borås, there is Berg’s, of course, right in the center on Stora Brogatan:

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This is the place where one can encounter a famous Swedish actor hesitating between one kind of Darjeeling and another, undisciplinedly licking his lips. Here one enters with the intention of buying one small bag of coffee and re-emerges with two big ones. Here, one plans to select one bar of “1888” and, since one cannot make up one’s mind, ends up with five. Berg’s has changed owners in recent years, but the chocolate is still there…

In Gothenburg, things are not that easy. Retailers usually use one of three tactics to deal with customers who ask for something they do not carry. They put up an air of superiority and claim that the product does not exist; they elaborately take an order they never plan do fulfill; or they say that the product is in fact so inferior that they banned it from their collection.

— Robin enters a fancy chocolate shop in the fanciest part of the Gothenburg city and asks for the 1888 brand of Malmö Chokladfabrik AB. The man at the counter says, no, we only have exclusive brands, go to a supermarket for that one. No explanation helps. Robin leaves the shop.

— Robin enters another fancy chocolate shop in Gothenburg, and the guy has never even heard of the brand.

This must change. No matter whether you live in Sydney, San Gimignano, Wanne-Eickel, Roscommon or Sisimiut, go to their website and bombard them with requests – they must know that they need to work on a proper distribution.

(Addition 13 03 2014: it has changed – a little. Malmö Chokladfabrik’s re-vamped website, linked above, has a “find a retailer” button on the top and a bunch of other customer-friendly features that make a professional and helpful impression. Go for it…)

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