SPONSORED CONTENT WITH M CACAO
Michelle Miakos wanted to do something really special for her nephew and his wife upon the birth of their first baby. The couple married during COVID, making it difficult for friends and family to fully participate in the happy occasion. So when the San Francisco-based new parents traveled back to New England, Miakos wanted to express connection beyond the typical stuffed animals and cute newborn outfits.
“I wanted something that they would keep–that would be personal and memorable,” recalls Haverhill-resident Miakos. What she found combines two things that new parents always need – a personalized keepsake of their child’s first few months, and chocolate. And not just any chocolate — luxurious chocolate, handcrafted just a few miles down the road.
expressioSM, the newest innovation from m cacao, the Amesbury-based chocolatier for the culinarily curious, can put their artisanal chocolates in a sturdy reusable box that displays a personalized video. Proud Auntie Michelle used still pictures that the new parents had shared on line to create a slideshow set to music, then sent it to m cacao to load into the box with a collection of their garden caramels, which come in exquisite flavors like fresh lavender and apricot basil. Because Miakos is local, she was able to pick it up right away. Not local? No problem. The chocolatier ships anywhere in the U.S.
“It was very unique to them because it’s about their baby,” Miakos says. “They can keep all her little baby bracelets and trinkets in there. They just loved it, and no one had ever seen anything like it before.”
Well beyond the old saw from Forrest Gump, m cacao is putting life inside a box of chocolates. The innovation goes even further though – m cacao is a leader in crafting chocolate from real ingredients – and in telling stories through their indulgent treats. This is the next level in a journey that has found the company working with everyone from documentary film producers to cabinet makers to translate a story into dark, flavorful chocolate.
“What’s exciting to me is that this is a really full experience and these are very personal,” says founder Michael Nichols, a former robotics engineer-turned-chocolatier. “It creates so much more of a presence. Especially nowadays, we’re losing connections. And I think any way that we can strengthen connections between people is hugely valuable.”
None of this would be as impressive if the chocolate didn’t live up to the video. Chef Delphin Gomes, a master pastry chef from Burgundy, France, who has baked for presidents and once ran the pastry program at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, works with Nichols to craft the perfect bites. They use far less sugar than many chocolatiers, which puts the spotlight on the finest chocolate from all over the world—think Republica del Cacao from Ecuador and the Dominican Republic and Valrhona from France. Any flavors come from real ingredients – from the basil in those caramels to the almond coffee cake in the opera chocolate in the Chef’s Collection.
That quality was important to Frank LeBlanc, owner of Seacoast Cabinets in Rowley. His company built a reputation on meticulous service and superior quality, so when looking for a gift to send to high-end customers, he needed something that lived up to that name. expressio gave him exactly that – LeBlanc plans to create a video of the renovation process for his top customers, and tuck it into the box.
“A kitchen remodel can be an intrusive process, so much that sometimes you forget where you started,” LeBlanc says. “Being able to remind clients of their goals and the finished product, along with some chocolates… well, no one has ever seen that before.”
In the past, LeBlanc has gifted clients wine glasses or cutting boards, but the unique nature of expressioSMappealed to him. “I like to do things that no one else is doing,” he says. “It’s kind of my M.O.”
Whether you are looking for a gift for friends or family with personal videos, or for corporate giving loaded with a promotional video to showcase products and services, expressioSM can be personalized with anything, making it a unique gift for celebrations, promotions or to thank customers, employees, or board members in a memorable way.
“You can do something really straightforward, or something really creative,” Nichols says. “I’m really looking forward to seeing what people do. I’m sure someone is going to use this for a proposal for Valentine’s Day.”
Videos are uploaded into the box and sent with either eight or 16 handcrafted chocolates to each recipient. Each box is equipped with an NFC (near field communication) tag containing a small microchip that can be read by most mobile devices and can be programmed to launch a company’s website, buy a product or service and even purchase refills at a discounted price with a single tap.
To further personalize his gift, LeBlanc at Seacoast Cabinets is working with designers at m cacao to create a colorful, edible cocoa butter logo that will be screen printed onto each of his chocolates.
That’s just one way expressioSM can personalize individual chocolates. Customers can also opt for three-dimensional chocolate medallions– edible decorations can also feature a company’s logo.
These expressioSM chocolate gifts, with personalization, start at $68 and are available to purchase online at mcacao.com/expressio just in time for the holidays. For volume orders of 10 or more, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About m cacao chocolates
Developed by forward-thinking chocolatiers, m cacao creates handcrafted chocolates and unique gifts for the culinarily curious. Combining the classic French technique of a pastry chef with the modern artistic approach of a robotics engineer, m cacao celebrates the world with expertly crafted flavors and textures, turning high-quality chocolate into an experience.