Peanut Marzipan Dark Chocolate


I’ve always loved dark chocolate more than milk chocolate, and lately I’ve been getting addicted to Davao-made dark chocolate. The foothills of Mount Apo are an up-and-coming cacao producing area, with the kind of wet tropical climate and rich volcanic soil that the best cacaos around the world seem to come from. No surprise, then, that some local producers have been getting help and interest from foreign chocolatiers, with one company already in partnership with the French to produce single-origin gourmet chocolate. These bonbons were shot as a test for The Chocolate Bean , a local gourmet chocolate shop. Their version of marzipan is made from fresh local peanut, and the Tablea (brewing chocolate tablet) in the background was milled so fine it could be eaten as is. I’m afraid those tableas we got from them – or at least, my share – never got to see the pot, as I just nibbled them all into oblivion.

Dark chocolate can be a challenge to light right, simply because it’s so dark, and because it’s the kind of chocolate that melts most easily. If it’s any good, it melts real fast. We had to find the right temperature to set our aircon in the studio so it’d be neither too warm nor too cold. This shot on ‘black ice’ was my favorite of the set, it looks sophisticated and there’s more detail in the chocolate. Interestingly enough, this was also the simplest setup – one light.


2 thoughts on “Peanut Marzipan Dark Chocolate

  1. I’m new to photography, can I ask a newbie question? Since chocolate melts easily couldn’t you have used either LED’s or other cool lighting, or just shot with strobes?

    That pic is amazing either way. Great job!

  2. No problem. I didn’t use our LED because ours is a small light, and my speedlights didn’t have the wattage to shoot at the apertures I was using. Because I was using a macro lens, with very limited DOF, I was shooting with pretty small apertures. So I used the big strobes. That also let me use a biggish softbox, so even though this was done with a single light there’s a good ‘wrapping-around’ of the light.

    To prevent melting, we practiced the lighting on stand-ins, locked the focus, then turned the modeling lights off.

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