The Cannabis Chocolatier Embracing High Design

The demand is rising for edibles as sophisticated as the modern cannabis consumer - and a prime example of the shift from sticky, university-era brownies to ultra-exalted treats is Défoncé Chocolatier.

Founder Eric Eslao previously spent more than six years at Apple as a production manager promoting Apple Music, Apple Music Festival, and Beats. He launched Défoncé Chocolatier with the idea of "revving new versions [of products]," as he tells Tech Insider.

"We want that to be part of the culture at this company. Something might be awesome, but you just have to keep on pushing to make it better and better."

Hence, both cannabis quality and chocolate quality are of paramount importance: Défoncé has brought on high-end chocolate makers Shiaosan Williams-Sheng and Ryan Holmes to oversee product development and work on R&D.

With a hefty 180 mg of THC - that's 18 pyramid-shaped doses of 10 mg each - in each 100G bar, they're guaranteed to pack a punch. They're also aesthetically interesting: unlike most chocolates, they snap into little pyramids, rather than squares or rectangles, and include mouthwatering varieties like Coffee ("milk chocolate and cracked espresso beans, folded with delicate cookies"), Matcha ("pure white chocolate infused with green tea matcha") and Hazelnut ("elegant dark chocolate with roasted hazelnuts, caramel bits, and cocoa nibs").

Défoncé has also embraced some fairly poetic rhetoric to sell the goodies, invoking "the makers who follow hearts, heads, and hands to shape the things that move us" from Sonoma coast winemakers to woodworkers and tailors, and the lines "Care in the fields/Craft in the kitchen./Your experience, exalted."

High-falutin', indeed.


Few other entrepreneurs in the cannabis space have their hands in quite as many ventures as Lorne Gertner. Currently dubbed the "godfather of the Canadian cannabis industry," Gertner told Civilized, "If we could live through normalization, we could change the world." Hailing from the fashion industry, this Toronto native says he's on a mission to "make the world a better place through cannabis and design excellence." The only catch is, well, normalizing cannabis — and that's where Gertner's keen eye for style comes in. "In the old days, you were going to be different or you were going to be normal," said Thom Antonio, Gertner's friend, creative director, and collaborator of 35 years.

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