Craft Chocolates with Heart, and a Little Poetry…
Written by Sharon Letts
To Whom It May cannabis craft chocolate company is the love child of Tomer Grassiany. His fine, handcrafted chocolates are inspired by art, music, and poetry and muse with the universally familiar phrase “to whom it may” conceived for the customer’s desire for discretion, sophistication, and playfulness, as well as the brand’s commitment to battle the decades-long stigma of cannabis use.
“The removal of the word ‘concern’ that traditionally completes the phrase adds a layer of wit and open-endedness; the phrase is also a poetic interpretation of ‘to each his own,’ which reflects the brand’s battle cry for non-judgement about cannabis consumption,” Grassiany explained.
Grassiany began making chocolates in 2013, after a back injury caused him to look for alternative ways to treat pain, rather than using prescription medications. He considers everything about his chocolates medicinal, down to the pure — and what he refers to as “minimalist” — ingredients.
“I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback from patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and insomnia who are using our products with success,” he added.
His signature hand-pressed infusion process does not involve butane, chemicals, or heavy machinery to make its base tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) activated cannabis oil. Organic flowers are hand-pressed with organic coconut oil, which is then distilled twice for maximum purity and flavor, then mixed with remaining natural ingredients to make the artistic handcrafted bonbons and truffles. This process also removes the cannabis flavor that can take away from the taste of the chocolate itself, as well as other ingredients.
Sweet Poetic Personas
The flavors of his creations, made with 70 percent dark chocolate, are chosen with as much care as the words he uses, pairing his chocolates with inspirations to spark thoughtful conversations and feelings – all done using minimal amounts of the freshest, finest ingredients.
“We launched the brand with four flavors, dressed to impress as unforgettable characters,” Grassiany shared. “Vivienne, Zak, Myra, and Ralph are inspired by a handful of iconic personalities from both recent and bygone history, who wooed us all with wondrous expressions in the arts, admirable entrepreneurial accomplishments, epic world adventures, and powerful reflections on society.”
Though the names hint of famed counterparts, Grassiany said he’d rather see consumers relate to the names and flavors in a personal way – with inspiration the key figure in the mix.
Vivienne is a bonbon full of cherries and slightly spicy cayenne; Ralph is said to take the partaker on a “dark chocolate adventure,” with the help of a house-made hazelnut butter and raw honey truffle; while Myra “dishes on a boozy bonbon, blending the hum of hazelnuts with a boom of brandy, and a chorus of cocoa;” and Zak “showing us how to trifle with a tempting truffle that woos us with its maple-smoked almond butter, coconut, and honey.”
Each chocolate traditionally comes in its own little artful box; and includes a surprise poem on the soul of the confection, as it relates to the persona it’s inspired by. It’s the upscale version, if you will, of the Cracker Jack prize; a little gift from the maker.
“We chose to bring the flavors to life as elegant, ambitious, yet safely anonymous peers who infuse the experience with companionship, and enrich the journey with stories and lives of their own,” Grassiany surmised.
Dosing with delicious little chocolates can be dangerous, especially when the bite-sized creations measure upwards of 10 to 15 percent or more, as found in many other cannabis confections.
“Our doses currently represent the widest range available in the U.S., beginning at 2.5 milligrams per piece, which is 75 percent lower than the broadly touted “low-dose” of 10 milligrams,” he explained. “Our chocolates start at 5 mg, which allow you to start low and scale-up. Boxes can be curated to the customer’s specifications.”
Grassiany said his chocolates are “meticulously measured,” with recipes based on lab results. The percentage of CBD to THC is used to calculate the exact amount of oil needed for the intended dosage of every batch. As denoted on its website, “both the chocolate and fillings for each truffle and bonbon are weighed before and after adding the cannabis oil infusion to ensure accurate dosage.”
His new creations, using hemp flower grown in Colorado, measure in with a 10 mg. dose each. Unlike his THC infusions, CO2 extraction (supercritical) is used in its Hemp CBD infused chocolates. Because CBD is allowed to ship to all 50 states, he’s seen a demand for the non-psychoactive creations.
His latest gift box, the “Party Palette” contains 24 chocolates in all four of his flavor combinations with CBD only infusions, curated to the customer’s specifications.
“After a few of our 24 piece boxes were ordered as a single flavor, we decided to add the ‘Party Palette,’” he said. “It’s a nice alternative to the typical hostess gift of alcohol. The party box is truly magnificent when you open it up – and is a sure way to make you the talk of the party.”
Cottage Not Included
But, in light of all the goodness a dark cloud is forming, as California’s climate for cottage industry is changing.
“The recent regulations that came into effect in California have signaled the end of the hand-crafted edibles industry,” Grassiany proclaimed. “The high cost of lab testing, at nearly $1,000 per batch, with the requirement that each batch must be tested, are favoring large batch sizes and long shelf-life, which unfortunately means highly processed and mass produced edibles.”
In addition, Grassiany added, the extremely high cost of city and state licensing for both medical and adult usage, in addition to the fact that manufacturers are no longer able to share an industrial kitchen – as in the cottage industry and collective models – has made it virtually impossible for many of the small batch makers to transition into the regulated market.
“The California Department of Health just issued guidance for the Type S manufacturing license that allows manufacturers to share a facility,” Grassiany added. “While it does offer small manufacturers a potentially more affordable path to a licensed facility, it unfortunately does nothing to help with any handcrafted products, as the cost for lab testing is still very high.”
These factors are why Grassiany and others are having to switch to hemp, and/or CBD only infusions, in order to broaden their market share and stay in the game.
For now, Grassiany’s design team, VS Studio in New York, has successfully done away with the stoner stigma, with tie-dyed, fan-leafed images replaced by art and poetry. Though his flavorings and packaging have elevated the conversation of the edible, time will tell if the industry can or will continue to support small batch, handmade ingenuity.
For more information or to order, visit ToWhomItMaychocolates.com
Follow To Whom It May on Instagram @towhomitmaychocolates
For information on Vs design team, visit VSstudio.nyc