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Sunday, 20 April 2014

Nizar Choucair: The Art of Chocolate

Finger ever on the pulse, I entered the undisputed mecca of retail, Dubai Mall and discovered Patchi. I use the term "discovered" in much the same way Christopher Columbus applied it on arriving in the New World: the "new world" had been there for some time; Columbus hadn't. 

Considering Patchi was founded in 1974, when Nizar Choucair opened his first store in Lebanon,  and today with over 140 stores in 29 countries is, reportedly. the leading chocolate brand in the Middle East; keeping itself hidden from me for forty years was pretty good going. (Apparently, in 2008, they collaborated with Harrod's to produce the most expensive box of chocolates ever..I missed that too).

140 stores. Small really is beautiful. Patchi have made chocolate retailing an art. An art gallery even. 

They have taken the category driver of "gifting" and owned it with a cool, chic, seductive, opulence, that would make Mondelez green and black with envy. Many have talked about confectionery premiumisation; few have ever taken such an ownership position and delivered it with such aplomb. The store could easily be mistaken on first appearance as a high end perfumery.  Less chocolate more chocolart

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