New Sweet Treat: Breath By Chocolate

Package of Le Whifs in chocolate, chocolate mint and chocolate raspberry flavors. i i

Le Whif offers its inhalers in three flavors — pure chocolate, mint chocolate and raspberry chocolate. The company plans to launch a coffee-flavored inhaler this March. Courtesy of Phase One Photography hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Phase One Photography
Package of Le Whifs in chocolate, chocolate mint and chocolate raspberry flavors.

Le Whif offers its inhalers in three flavors — pure chocolate, mint chocolate and raspberry chocolate. The company plans to launch a coffee-flavored inhaler this March.

Courtesy of Phase One Photography

Eating chocolate can be decadent, sensual, blissful, even addictive. I mean, have you ever just wanted to inhale the confection? Well, now you can with a new chocolate invention known as Le Whif.

Sounds wacky — like something Willy Wonka would have dreamt up. He had the Scrumdidlyumptious bar, lickable wallpaper and the river of chocolate that ran through his factory.

Well, move over Willy Wonka and meet Harvard University professor David Edwards, the not-so-mad, biomedical scientist behind Le Whif.

"We have created chocolate in a new form," Edwards says.

Breathable Chocolate

That new form is an airborne variety that people can inhale instead of eat.

Edwards knows lungs well. He usually works on designing inhalers that deliver medicine. But last year he and his lab students decided it would be fun to invent breathable chocolate. They broke it down into particles that float.

But does Le Whif satisfy?

To find out, Edwards headed to Cardullo's Gourmet Shoppe in Harvard Square, where they have an obscene selection of chocolate.

Edwards busted out his little box of Le Whif. It comes in tubes that look like lipstick or shotgun shells or some other kind of illicit paraphernalia.

"If you're really experienced with the Whif you can actually do it with one hand," Edwards says. "You open it up, put it in your mouth, and you breathe in. And you get a nice flavor. You can close it when you're done, and then later on you can open it up again and you can "Whif" again. There's about eight or 10 puffs per Whif."

'It's Kind Of Fun'

But what about the taste?

Store co-owner Francis Cardullo is a major chocolate junkie and the perfect guinea pig to taste test the invention.

"That's a nice light whiff of chocolate," Cardullo says. "It's kind of fun. You get the full flavor of the chocolate."

A chocolate-flavored inhaler from Le Whif. i i

A chocolate-flavored inhaler from Le Whif. Courtesy of Phase One Photography hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Phase One Photography
A chocolate-flavored inhaler from Le Whif.

A chocolate-flavored inhaler from Le Whif.

Courtesy of Phase One Photography

After experiencing it, Cardullo says he wants to add Le Whif to his shop's extensive chocolate selection.

"It's different," Cardullo says. "One doesn't replace the other. I think it's a compliment to chocolate."

And that's the point, according to Edwards, though he admits he's even had to defend Le Whif on a few occasions.

"This is not against chocolate anymore than eating bars of chocolate means I don't eat a chocolate milkshake," he says. "This is just a new way of experiencing chocolate, and it's sort of an addendum to how we normally eat chocolate."

Le Whif is something of a sensation in Paris, where it's currently sold in stores. For now, Americans can sniff it out online. A box of three tubes costs about $8. It launches on Harvard's campus and New York City in a few weeks.

Even better news for serious chocoholics — Le Whif is virtually calorie-free.

Related NPR Stories

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.