“We are idealists, not only marketers” Fabio de Visintini explained. “In ChoX, we believe in honest, healthy food.”
Fabio de Visintini is the founder of ChoX, an Italian food production company which specialises in creating healthy, sustainable chocolate products. ChoX is a delicious chocolate which doesn’t contain any added preservatives, flavourings, hydrogenated fats, gluten, acidifiers, or colourants. The “X” in ChoX basically stands for all the ingredients it does not contain. They currently have two presentations for their chocolate: Quadra, which is their chocolate bar brand, and Crema di Chiocollate, their chocolate crème brand.
ChoX’s formula is simple. It only contains chocolate, extra virgin olive oil, brown sugar, mineral water, coffee, tea, and candied almonds sourced from the best high-quality manufacturers in the world. Its cocoa bean supplier is Domori, best known for their high-quality Criollo cacao beans, and Agrimontana, one of the finest food manufacturing producers in the world. “I just wouldn’t like to add any type of ingredient that an 8-year-old couldn’t understand”, he said.
Fabio de Visintini’s journey started five years ago, when he began working on a marketing research project for a book about chocolate. He was a Marketing, Communication and Innovation Consultant at the time, but he confidently embarked on this subject due to his prior experience as a pharmacist and flavourist.
“I’ve had a lot of chocolate in my life. But before this project, I didn’t really know anything about any of this. Where do the cocoa beans even grow? On the ground, on trees? A lot of us don’t know where our food is grown, or even how it’s made. We don’t even know why we eat chocolate”, he added. And so his quest began. He began to wonder which components make up the highest quality chocolate product in the world.
Fabio de Visintini is confident that ChoX is the chocolate of the future; a future where health and wellbeing will be affected by the current hazardous food manufacturing practices.
“This is a simple revolution. The market is changing. The needs of the people are changing. People want simple products with excellent raw materials that are also healthy and natural. This is not a step back. It is a step into the future, just with the simplicity of the past.”- Visintini
He soon understood that neither the cocoa bean nor its origin were the crucial factors that determine a high quality chocolate; he discovered that the key was in the manufacturing process. What mattered was how the chocolatiers handled the raw materials during the processing stage of the chocolate mass.
Even though he is not a trained chocolatier, he decided to begin his first experiments in his own kitchen. He decided early on that he wouldn’t use cocoa powder. He explained that even though the cocoa powder is indeed a part of the chocolate, it is actually separated from the cocoa butter, which is, in his words, “one of the most noble ingredients chocolate supplies us with”.
In typical commercial chocolate, the cocoa powder and cocoa butter are separated early in the process. This is where the chocolatier usually adds some other kind of hydrogenated fat to the cocoa powder, instead of keeping the cocoa butter in the chocolate mass. In the best case scenario, the chocolatier will add butter. In the worst cases, chocolatiers will just add any kind of low priced fat from the market into the product. Cocoa butter and chocolate mass are both in ChoX’s formula.
Contrary to popular belief, milk does not enhance the flavours of the chocolate. Milk dilutes the natural flavour of chocolate, and it also leaves you with a lingering bitter sensation. “Bitterness is not a sign of high-quality chocolate. Natural quality chocolate is not black, it is brown with red undertones, and it is not bitter”, he explained.
ChoX does not use milk, and instead boosts the chocolate flavour with water – a flavouring technique from Ancient Mexican civilizations. Water enhances the chocolate mass, which is naturally sweet. Because of this, it is not necessary to add much sugar to the product. ChoX chocolate cream actually has a silky consistency due to the combination with water, which doesn’t leave you with a lingering chocolate flavour in your mouth.
“We want to respect chocolate. Chocolate is a gift from nature. We want our experience to be rich, from the packaging to the flavour”, he continued. That is why ChoX doesn’t use plastic to package its products, only uses paper, aluminium, and glass. “These are elements that consumers could repurpose if they wanted to”, he added.
He also explained his commitment to sustainability by only using suppliers that use the best raw materials, such as Agrimontana and Domori. He has personally visited the premises where the cocoa beans are grown, in San Jose, Venezuela. He was positively impressed by how Domori handles its social responsibility and manufacturing process.
In addition, ChoX’s products need to be refrigerated because the chocolate doesn’t contain any added preservatives. Even though some might see this as a disadvantage, ChoX has turned this to a competitive advantage, making it possible to sell all year long while its competitors only sell until April, later reintroducing their products during the autumn.
ChoX is a niche startup already present in Italy, co-founded by Rossa Bettini, and Fabio de Visintini. It has already started expanding to other countries, like Slovenia. By forming part of Enjoy Italy's exclusive catalog, an Italian food destination store and restaurant.