Avocado, French toast, and Hazelnut toast are all flavors of Compartes chocolate bars

By Margaret Eby
February 07, 2018
Photo courtesy Compartes

Chocolate in your breakfast is nothing new, as anyone who recently ate a Pain au Chocolat (or bowl of Cocoa Puffs) can tell you. It turns out that morning is even the best time to eat chocolate, because your palate is freshest. But what if, instead of having your breakfast flavored like chocolate, you had chocolate flavored like your breakfast.

That might sound unlikely—or even gross—unless you've been paying attention to the world of indie chocolatiers. Compartes Chocolatier, a Los Angeles-based chocolate company, is one of the companies that you might have already seen at a hip coffee shop near you. Their bars include flavors like cinnamon toast, avocado, cornbread, French toast, and coffee & doughnuts. You could invite people over for brunch and just set out an array of chocolate bars. (Though you might need a lot of coffee to counteract the sugar hangover.) The bars, which are split into triangles rather than the traditional squares, look great—you could easily imagine them integrated into the set of a Wes Anderson movie.

These recipes are the brainchild of Jonathan Grahm, who started making chocolate when he was 15 years old. At 19, he became head chocolatier of Compartes, and at 24 he bought the company from its previous owners and introduced his own recipes and branding. "I actually have never taken a culinary class or chocolate class, design class, business class or anything of that nature," Grahm told Extra Crispy. "I don't like to look at what anyone else is doing because I like my process to really be inspired by my own favorite things."

"I have a book by my bed where I write down ideas for chocolate bars and creations I want to make," Grahm said. "I think everything tastes better with chocolate anyway." Grahm often tends to incorporate classic desserts, like Strawberry Shortcake or Animal Cookies, into his bars. Recently, he's been dipping into childhood nostalgia for inspiration, which inspired the Cinnamon Toast bar, a limited edition holiday offering. "Cinnamon Toast Crunch was one of my favorite cereals growing up. I could probably live on that stuff. So I wanted to create a bar that's really laced with cinnamon flavor and crunchy bits, and have the bar itself like the cereal milk," Grahm said. "It feels Christmas-y to me without being a generic spice sort of flavor."

photo courtesy compartes

Another favorite is the Donuts & Coffee bar. "I chose to mix that with diner coffee, rather than a gourmet blend, because I wanted to evoke that old-school, film noir diner vibe," Grahm said. "The star of that bar is the doughnut, but the coffee adds that extra touch." Some of Compartes other holiday offerings include a Sticky Toffee bar that includes homemade sticky toffee pudding sauce in it, and a Fruit Cocktail bar, a slab of dark chocolate densely flecked with fruit. 

As for his own breakfast habits, you probably won't be shocked to hear that Grahm's diet includes a lot of chocolate. "I usually come in and taste what we are making in the chocolate factory that day and that's my breakfast, so it's always different since we make everything in small batches in our chocolate kitchen," Grahm said. "This morning I had apple pie chocolate bar batter, potato chip chocolate bar batter, and whiskey chocolate batter. When you wake up and get to work in a chocolate kitchen all day, breakfast is always a new adventure!"