Another of Lebanon's Sweet Companies: Patchi Chocolates

The following review is expressly my own opinion. It was neither commissioned nor endorsed by the company in spotlight.
Besides Taanayel Les Fermes, there’s another institution of Lebanese make that I sincerely admire (I’m considering launching a series on worthy local companies—readers, what do you think?). 

Patchi has been serving superior chocolates for 40 years. The devotion to quality is unmistakable. Cocoa butter free of gunk like preservatives, artificial flavors and vegetable oil; imported raw ingredients; and local nuts and fruits all combine to render Patchi a reference in topnotch chocolates.

Originality is a forte of Patchi’s. They’ve not left a stone unturned: chocolate lingots (or ingots) mimicking bars of gold; chocolate “olives” uncannily similar to the actual fruit, especially in their lime-yellow and eggplant colors; Turkish delights (loukoum) sandwiched between Ghandour-like biscuits and dipped in chocolate; chocolate-covered dates. There’s even a comprehensive line of no-sugar-added chocolates for diabetics and conscious consumers.

Besides the exquisite tastes and aromas, the packaging of Patchi goodies entices. Devoid of airs and rather simplistic, it is understated elegance. For example, bars and tablets are wrapped in the signature lime-yellow and black paper exhibiting the brand logo, with a colored band to indicate the flavor of the chocolate. The dark chocolate-dipped orange wedges, among my favorites for their fusion of tart, tangy, and sweet notes, are housed in a tin box that wonderfully preserves their freshness. Everything is so neat, square, and seamless.

But perhaps the most captivating part of the experience for me is entering the Patchi flagship store on Weygand Street in Beirut Central District. A massive white space very minimally occupied yet expertly stocked with all the essentials, it is inviting without being austere. 

There’s the Wall of Chocolates on the far right, encasing all the bite-sized varieties in a floor-to-ceiling glass cabinet. Arranged like bookshelves in a library, it is ever so meticulous and tidy. For me, half the temptation is in the presentation, and Patchi does an inimitable job.

I understand there are additional levels above the main floor dedicated to special occasions like christenings and weddings, but I’ve never ventured upward.

Staff is helpful without being pressing, and if they see you eyeing or inquiring after a certain item, they are quick to offer you a sample. When you make your way to the cashier, there are glass bowls piled with more chocolate which you can readily indulge in. These doses of generosity encourage the customer to spend, as she is flooded with instant gratification and a human touch.

Patchi has boutiques in 27 of the world’s major cities, including Paris, London, San Morino, Hong Kong, and Istanbul. They also serve their North American clientele via an online catalog. I had no idea they were so global! That reach can only mean one thing: Patchi successfully competes with the most refined chocolates in the world, and deservedly so.

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