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Loco for Cocoa

Singapore's Chocolate Research Facility elevates candy to an art form.

SIN

What’s in Store

IF CHOCOLATE IS A MEDICATION FOR SOME OF US, then the newly opened Chocolate Research Facility (Tel: 65-6338-5191, www.chocolateresearchfacility.com) in food-obsessed Singapore is our pharmacy—with or without a prescription. The specialty shop carries 100 flavors that will satiate any visitor’s taste buds, from the haughtiest choco-snob (Cognac) to his fussy toddler (strawberry yogurt). CRF also carries seasonal flavors, including honey melon with cassia and cardamom with almond for spring/summer ’09. A magnet for curious passersby, the boutique-café is as playful in its laboratory-inspired design (featuring an LED window display of randomly generated numbers) as it is in its flavoring. But it’s the packaging of the boxed chocolates that stands out the most: One side evokes a bland pharmaceutical box with printed serial numbers. “But once you flip it around it’s completely fun,” explains creator Christopher Lee, from acclaimed local design studio Asylum. “Animal skin graphics represent the exotic series, neon lights for the alcoholic flavors,” he adds. “We wanted to give the chocolates a half-serious, half-crazy personality.” —Lim Sio Hui

Raising the Bar

It’s like a global arms race of chocolate. Former El Bulli pastry chef Oriol Balaguer’s unique chocolate art (below) includes such odd flavors as olive oil and saffron (www.oriolbalaguer.com).

Hirsinger, of Arbois, France, creates chocolates to pair with wines produced in the region, including a curried walnut for the Vin Jaune from Jura in Eastern France (www.chocolat-hirsinger.com). In Japan, where Kit Kats are regarded as a good-luck symbol, the chocolate covered wafers are constantly reinvented in limited editions and regional flavors such as tiramisu and Kyoho grape (www.breaktown.com). And for those who prefer a bit more kick, New York’s Southern Tier Brewing Company has a Choklat Stout that makes for a divine dessert all on its own (www.southerntierbrewing.com).

*** BOARDING PASS / Looking for a sweet way to get to Singapore? United serves Singapore’s Changi International Airport (SIN) daily from both Tokyo and Hong Kong. Connect via Tokyo from Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco or Washington Dulles; connect via Hong Kong from Chicago or San Francisco.

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