Those chocolates made by Willy Wonka…..

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Those chocolates made by Willy Wonka....

If one is making a film about the creation of the world’s best chocolatier, one should perhaps bring on a real-life chocolatier to help create the hundreds of chocolates consumed onscreen in the course of the movie. Enter Gabriella Cugno, officially in the set decorating and props team, but in essence, the behind-the-scenes Wonka of “Wonka.”

After being sent the script, Cugno took a crack at making six confections (with up to four different designs each) for director Paul King, taking care to make sure the outside “signaled” the inside and conveyed the magic of the sweet. After a show-and-taste, King chose his favorite of each and gave instruction for the design of the remaining chocolates.

Per King: “Everything that is eaten in the movie is not only edible, but delicious. I promise. When the characters eat flowers or leaves, they’re edible. They’re great. And
there was an amazing thing on set one day… I was remembering the bit where Gene Wilder [as Willy Wonka] eats the teacup. We had a shot and I was like, ‘Oh, if only I’d thought of this, we could have a chocolate cup that Willy could make.’ And Gabriella went, ‘Oh, I can do that.’ And I went, ‘We’ve got an hour before we film it.’ ‘Don’t worry.’ And she went away and made half a dozen, because obviously you need multiple takes. Blue, perfect little cup and saucer, made of different blue leaves all formed into the shape. And you just go, ‘I need you in my life.’”

Since the chocolate also had to be believably made by Willy with his portable chocolate-making case (a props marvel in and of itself), Cugno worked closely with the props team to design the molds. She primarily used darker chocolate (because of its stronger properties) and observed dietary requirements (there were vegan versions as well).

The final tally of chocolates created for “Wonka” included: 900 Hoverchocs, 80 Silver Linings, 85 Big Night Outs, 150 Giraffe Milk Macaroons, 400 Forty Second Sweets (Broadway Show), 200 Hair Repair Éclairs and 80 Mamma’s Wonka Bars.
In addition, limited numbers of edible flora had to be created for the Wonka’s Chocolate Shop sequence. These included a blue ball flower (15 flowers were constructed using 300 handmade petals each, 4,500 petals total); 50 purple flowers; 80 red roses; and six of the famous last-minute chocolate teacups. Other confections included edible versions of purple and orange mushrooms, purple roses, large orange leaves, cherries, cherry blossoms, soil, honeycomb, bees, pears and tree bark. Wonka’s shop also boasted doughnuts, ice creams and a sweet version of spaghetti and meatballs.

Though not nearly as showy as her other creations, Cugno also crafted around 400 very conventional chocolates (simply molded and painted) that served as the confections sold by the Cartel. And every single chocolate crafted for “Wonka” was completely hand-tempered and handmade, with all natural ingredients, no artificial flavors or preservatives.
Something which would make Willy Wonka very proud indeed.

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