Toronto recently became the home of a design-forward chocolate shop serving up colorful confections that are almost too pretty to eat. Characterized as “designer Willy Wonka,” Chocolates x Brandon Olsen – also known as CXBO – produces tantalizing treats with a wonderfully artistic touch.
CXBO is a colorful sweet shop tucked away in Toronto’s beautiful Brockton Village. The shop is headed up by chef Brandon Olsen – whose resume includes successful stints as the chef de cuisine at Bar Isabel and The Black Hoof – and his successful filmmaker and artist fiancé Sarah Keenlyside. It is the combination of Olsen’s unique flavor pairings and Keenlyside’s expert eye for art and design that sets CXBO apart from any other chocolate shop in the city.
CXBO is dedicated to creating gourmet confections that are art-focused and design-oriented. This is immediately apparent from the shape of the chocolates, which resemble tiny geodesic domes. The indulgent chocolate confections are then sprayed, splattered or finger-painted with edible cocoa butter to create aesthetically pleasing patterns that are reminiscent of Jackson Pollock's abstract designs. The result is a highly curated collection of sweets that includes enticing flavors such as Raspberry Rose Fennel, Cinnamon Brown Butter and Pistachio Bergamot. In addition to its original collection and limited-edition runs, CXBO also devotes nearly half of its business to custom work for brands, weddings, corporate events and other special occasions.
Not only are the colorful confections a treat for the eyes, but so is the highly Instagrammable packaging. Created by designer Ryan Crouchman – who is currently the Creative Director, Design at Leo Burnett – CXBO packages its gourmet chocolates in stark white boxes topped with hand-painted designs that are impossible to miss. These eye-catching packages of tempting treats can currently be found across the city at top Toronto boutiques, cafes and patisseries such as Colette Grand Café and The Tempered Room. CXBO also does a special collection of bespoke chocolates for The Drake General Store.
With plans for a collection of full-sized chocolate bars already in the works, CXBO demonstrates that finely crafted flavors and artistic design is a winning combination when it comes to chocolate.