Food News

Meet your maker: Complements chocolates

These inventive modular sweets seamlessly
pair food and design.

By Maggie Scardifield
Clockwise from left: Cookies & Cream, Mango, Black Sesame, Salted Caramel and Strawberry.
If you're a client of Sydney design agency Universal Favourite, there's no chance of receiving a branded fridge magnet or a novelty mug when the season for end-of-year thank-you gifts arrives. Dari Israelstam, the agency's owner and creative director, says his team tackle presents with the creativity and focus they would any other brief. "We always want to craft something out-of-the-box, that reflects how we work," he says.
There have been custom scents, edible infographics and personalised board games, for example, and in 2016, Complements chocolates were launched. The Tetris-like chocolates, originally created using 3D printing, are handmade in collaboration with Sydney's Bakedown Cakery. Featuring Belgian couverture, and in flavours such as lychee and coconut, black sesame, and blackberry, the pair-and-share treats have attracted praise around the world for their design and originality. Now, Universal Favourite is sharing the love and has released a limited-edition run of 500 boxes.
How did the idea for Complements chocolates come about, Dari?
Our end-of-year gifts have developed cult status among our clients, and each year we aim to be more inventive than the last. We really wanted to do something with chocolate and 3D printing, and liked the idea of combining new technologies with tactile and human experiences. They've hit a real sweet spot because they combine two things people love: chocolate and design.
Why the stepped shape?
The shapes complementing each other and fitting together are reminiscent of how we saw our relationship with our clients. After exploring a range of different interlocking designs, we chose a clean, modular staircase, which when combined with another flavour, creates a bite-sized cube.
How did you decide on the flavours?
We wanted to make sure that we didn't just nail the aesthetic side of things. Yes, they are beautiful little refined pieces of art, but at the end of the day, they end up in your mouth. We went through many rounds of experimenting, tasting and refining the flavours and always opted for the subtle and natural choice over more vibrant artificial ingredients.
What makes a gift special?
Thoughtfulness. The best gift is one that shows the person you've really thought about them, gives them new experiences or challenges them to learn something new.
Complements chocolates, $85 for a box of 12, with free shipping globally, (02) 9357 4401,