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5 Surprising Chocolate Innovations

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Chocolate that’s practically calorie-free? Chocolate frocks? Chocolate that’s good for you and the planet? A computer that prints truffles? Yes, please! Get ready: the future of chocolate has arrived.

1. Breathable Chocolate

Harvard professor David Edwards recently patented a new way to consume chocolate: it’s called Le Whif and it consists of a cylindrical tube that dispenses a spray of tiny particles of chocolate. Delivering just one calorie per serving, this unusual invention provides health-conscious people with a way to satiate their chocolate cravings without sacrificing taste. Le Whif uses organic, fair-trade chocolate and features biodegradable packaging—and most importantly, it tastes delicious!

2. Printable Chocolate

Cornell University scientists have created a 3-D food printer that can print using syringes filled with chocolate. The printer is not limited to chocolate, but the edible ingredient needs to be liquid enough to fill a syringe. Chocolate, cookies and cake batter have all been used as “inks”. The syringes act in combination with computer blueprints to create layers which slowly become a 3-D object.

3. Wearable Chocolate

With the introduction of new types of colorings and pearlescent powders, chocolate is becoming closer to couture than ever before. Stacey Van Waldick of Promise Me Chocolates in New York creates stunning chocolate gems, rings and pendants, while every year The Chocolate Show in New York presents a runway show of clothing made exclusively of chocolate.

4. Accountable Chocolate

Sustainability is a buzzword only recently associated with chocolate, but that is slowly changing. Typically, most of the chocolate we consume has been harvested from disappearing rainforests. One chocolatier aims to reverse that: Philipp Kauffmann of Original Beans sources his chocolate from some of the rarest rainforests in the world, and with each bar sold, community farmers plant a new tree to help keep the forest healthy. Every bar of chocolate comes with a tracking number that lets the consumer track the new tree planting.

5. Healing Chocolate

While many people don’t rank chocolate high on their list of health foods, that may not be the case for long. Chocolate companies have begun including supplements like omega-3 fatty acids and immune boosters like Wellmune in their chocolates. In addition, Sacred Chocolate, a company out of Northern California, was the first to create a raw, organic chocolate bar. Raw cacao contains high amounts of naturally occurring nutrients and antioxidants—the health benefits of which are myriad.

Kate Steffens is a pastry chef, writer, DJ, artist, designer and all-around Renaissance woman. She is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy and the University of Texas at Austin. She runs the rock-and-roll chocolate company, Straight Outta Chocolate. When she's not elbow deep in chocolate, you can find her reading, gardening, working on art projects and listening to old records.