The best thing about Valentine’s Day, at least in my opinion, is the abundance of chocolate available on store shelves. But this tasty treat can also be 3D printed, and California-based digital bakery Sugar Lab just made my day by announcing the release of its fancy and romantic Valentine’s Collection of 3D printed chocolates! The line includes 3D printed bonbons, truffles, sugar cubes and candy conversation hearts, champagne bitters, and hollow pastry shells just waiting to be filled with decadent mousse or ganache. So, cancel any other Valentine’s Day plans you had and prepare to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Kyle von Hasseln, the CEO and Co-Founder of Sugar Lab, said in a press release, “Our goal at Sugar Lab is to pursue chef-led culinary innovations in partnership with our skilled digital design team, using 3D printing technology.”
Von Hasseln and COO Meagan Bozeman, together with 3D Food Designer William Hu, founded the company last fall; its parent company, Culinary Printworks, also established by von Hasseln in 2020, creates custom flavors and designs for major brands, caterers, and professional chefs. Von Hasseln and his wife invented the sugar 3D printing technology in 2012, and it was acquired by 3D Systems not long after, finally being brought to market last year through a partnership with Brill, Inc. Bozeman, von Hasseln, and Hu are all on the R&D team that developed the commercial-grade Brill 3D Culinary Studio printer.
“After years of developing the Culinary Printer, we understand its potential better than anyone. We’ve stepped out on our own with a concept we believe in and, more importantly, with people we trust, to start this business,” Bozeman stated. “Our goal is to make this amazing technology accessible to chefs and consumers around the world.”
The Brill printer that creates the confections at Sugar Labs uses a form of binder jetting, except in this case, the binder is edible. Along with food coloring, the binder is deposited onto a bed of powdered sugar, which is flavored with dehydrated foods like cinnamon and nutmeg to make all kinds of beautiful and mouth-watering sugary treats. The customizable desserts this technology can create, in an array of interesting shapes and bright colors, shows the true potential of 3D printed sweets.
“3D printing brings so much flexibility to the table for our customers. We can create complex and beautiful foods that really have to be seen to be believed,” von Hasseln explained. “Equally significant, 3D printing allows for fast design iteration without the need for molds. This means we can quickly brand and personalize existing designs with something unique for each customer.”
For this special Valentine’s Day line of 3D printed chocolates, Sugar Lab partnered with Chef Melissa Walnock of the Culinary Institute of America. Together, they created several recipes for rich, delicious chocolate ganache, which are encased inside equally tasty 3D printed candy shells. These 3D printed truffles sound like the perfect addition to a Valentine’s Day date, as they pair well with a nice whisky, an old-fashioned (my husband’s personal favorite), or a champagne cocktail. The 3D printed bonbons are made with fun throwback flavors, like PB&J and s’mores, and the collection also includes cocktail garnishes, candies, and decorations for cupcakes.
I’ll tell you right now that I’m impressed with this collection. Every single item offered is, at least in my opinion, a totally affordable gift for your Valentine, and everything is also vegan. The most “expensive” options are the Strawberry-Covered Chocolate Truffles and the Broken Heart Puzzle Chocolate Truffles: for just $34.99, you get six truffles in a variety of flavors. With the Strawberry-Covered option, the strawberry-shaped 3D printed ginger pastry shells are filled with chocolate ganache in Tamarind Elderflower, Pineapple Upside-down Cake, and Caramelized Honey Chili flavors. The Broken Heart Puzzles feature chocolate ganache in Orange blossom and Earl Grey, Tahini, and Ginger flavors.
If you’re looking for some tasty nostalgia, you can purchase a set of six Throwback Bonbons, in the style of the 80s or the 90s, for $32.99. For a more do-it-yourself dessert night, get a six-pack of vanilla Romantic Dessert Shells for $27.99 and fill them with whatever your heart desires; Sugar Lab even has a recipe for cake batter that can go into the shells.
A six-pack of 3D printed Sugar Lab Hearts, Heart-Patterned Roses, or the adorable Teddy Bear Candy is just $24.99, and while these vanilla-flavored options can probably stand on their own as candies, they would also serve as excellent cupcake toppers. Sugar Lab has also created Champagne Bitters, which are exactly what they sound like: 3D printed Angostura bitters. Six diamond or teddy-bear shaped bitters is $29.99.
“From the same architect-dropout-turned-confectioner team that brought you 3D printed sugar, we proudly present, 3D printed bitters. We figured out how to turn liquid bitters into any shape a 3D printer can render, and for Valentine’s we assumed the people wanted cute lil’ teddys hanging on to Champagne flutes for dear life,” the website states.
Finally, you can purchase a pack of six 3D printed Valentine’s Sugar Cubes—either unflavored, peppermint, or cinnamon—for $21.99, and six of everybody’s favorite SMS Text Candy Hearts, in Watermelon-Lemonade or Lime flavors, for $15.99. I can’t wait to send family and friends 3D printed Valentine’s Day treats next month!
This year, Sugar Lab plans to expand its product lines, and shift its focus to weddings and other special occasions, like birthdays. (Psst, my birthday is in September…I mean, I’m kidding…but seriously.)
(Source/Images: Sugar Lab)
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