Cocobel Chocolate

Sometimes I feel like we live in a magical place. Look at our geographic space, we are located away from the hurricane belt, the tectonic plate shifting incidents rarely affect us  and there is an abundance of chocolate. We love chocolate so much that we even use it to play mas’ during our j’ouvert celebrations at Carnival. I am not describing  the substandard sugar loaded candy bars today but the immaculate cocoa finery which takes you to heights of the northern, central and southern range combined. You figure out the math because the numbers will just drive me more insane than the eclectic skills of local architect turned chocolatier, Isobel Brash otherwise known as Cocobel.

(The building that hosts Cocobel & Medulla Art Gallery)

Photo Credit: Medulla Art Gallery

Yet again I am raving about another architect who is female and making those bold moves right here in Trinidad. Can you imagine the scope of creativity when you take an architect’s experience, knowledge and mindset to chocolate innovation?! The possibilities are endless!!! Think about the elements and principles of design fused with Isobel’s passion for Trinidad and Tobago’s culture. The results are always decadent masterpieces depicting and reflecting her architectural expertise in functionality, design and the diverse palate of local ethnic delight!

(The stairs leading to the porch of the Cocobel studio)

Cocobel translates to the meaning of Cocoa Queen and this is the brand name of Isabel’s chocolates. She is the queen who sources local cocoa beans from her brother’s estate in South Trinidad at Rancho Quemado and makes magic with them at her space on #37 Fitt Street in Woodbrook. The space is shared with The Medulla Art Gallery. (How cool is that?!  You get to discover what’s going on in the local art scene when you go chocolate shopping. Who’s says you can’t have your chocolate and eat it too!!!). Cocoa trees greet you upon entering the gates of the Cocobel premises. As you sashay up the staircase the rustling of leaves and the island breeze catches your face with sheer joy.  Craftsman furniture pieces with artisan stools and the glamorous doorway to chocolate heaven are less than a few feet away. But the porch beckons you to stay and bask in your storybook feelings. Yes, if we had to write an island fairytale this house would definitely be on the illustrator’s pages sharing a glimpse of happiness with the reader; an untamed energy so pure and perfect, hopeful yet unanimously ingenuous.

(The accent wall in the Cocobel studio)

I am not an architect but my design senses tell me that this building appears to be a mix of architectural styles. I see a bit of the Edwardian era, the less ornate Victorian era with plant inspired motifs and some stencil work . It also looks like the arts and crafts era made an impact too. I say this because of the simpler and handmade furniture pieces on the porch, the apt natural beauty of  the unpainted wood grain, wood carvings, the floors and the leather work on the upholstered chairs inside. The geometric forms on the gates , the use of metal indicate some use of art deco design.  Upon entering the studio there is sense of modernism and minimalism with a hint of Moorish style (the domed at the top of the framed windows). There are a few pieces of furniture, a sensual glass coffee table, paintings on the walls to the left, a great piano to the right end just where a staircase descends to the art gallery and an accent wall inebriated with scribblings about the Cocobel brand. In front of the accent wall is a simple crafted table bearing all the chocolate bounty for the consumer’s eyes to devour. The principles and elements of design unite in a harmony to echo throughout the exterior and interior spaces of Cocobel.

(The seating area in the Cocobel studio)

 

(The stairs that spiral to the Medulla Art Gallery)

A simple set up on the inside is all anyone needs to convince them that this is the real deal. There are truffles, barks, bon bons with fillings, chocolate covered cocoa and coffee beans. Isabel infuses local fruit, spices and herbs in her chocolate making. But this is no monkey business as each piece is carefully crafted leaving a  balance which is any designer/architect’s purpose when they set out on a project.  Albeit Isabel’s Cocobel is for chocolate lovers, foodie enthusiasts, dessert connoisseurs and persons who are open to trying new things. The brand is highly supportive and reflective of local culture. It is consistent with being diverse with its offering and it does not compromise on high quality production. There is little to no generation gap with Isabel’s chocolate market. It is the quintessential gift for special occasions from weddings, birthdays, anniversaries to “just because”days.  Cocobel’s brand hinges on cocoa innovation. There is consistent progressive creative thought in the brand development which is quite evident in the product lines. In April, Isobel experimented with the seasonal grapefruit bark. The tangy and sweet combination was delectable and it was made right here in Trinidad. During the Easter holidays the children and artisans in all of us were not exempt from her chocolate love affair as Easter bunnies and chocolate eggs were superbly designed and decorated for purchase.  As if these were not enough chocolate innovation look out for her Fresh Baked Fridays, a chocolate lover’s dream. The chocolate studio is transformed into a chocolate bakery with complimentary hot cocoa and lots of chocolate desserts and pastries to choose from!

(Cocobel Chocolates)

Photo Credit: Cocobel Chocolate Facebook

(Cocobel Chocolate Bars)

Photo Credit: Cocobel Chocolate Facebook

(Fresh Baked Fridays)

Photo Credit: Cocobel Chocolate Facebook

Anyone interested in discovering more about Isabel can get on to her social media pages to be updated on future sales, new products, services and the next fresh baked event.

Website: http://www.cocobelchocolate.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cocobel-Chocolate-253083854729802/

Instagram: cocobelchocolate

Email: cocobel@cocobelchocolate.com

Contact: (868) 622-1196

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