As an age of 3D printing continues to evolve, and the spectrum of creation widens,  becoming all the more accessible and affordable, what we’ve always dreamed about manufacturing from our homes becomes a reality. You’ve got it; chocolate.

Machine-crafting confectionary is now only a printer away, thanks to a delicious collaboration between The Hershey Company and 3D Systems. The CocoJet 3D food printer allows you to imagine your desired shape, for example a complex building structure – with all the nuts and bolts (or nuts and fruit) – and it should be able to produce the divine creation in all its glory, with textures and shapes which printers have previously been unable to render.

So what does it taste like?

3D printers have been known to fabricate everything from industrial prototypes to jewelry; and so its movement into the culinary world raises a very important question: does it taste good? Since a press release has stated that the commercial plans for this kind of chocolate-y printer are to be released at a later date, we’ve had to leave the taste experimentation to the lucky people at the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas last week, who sampled some of the prototype sweets.

The chocolate was described as being squeezed like icing sugar from a pre-programmed robotic bag, building the shape one layer at a time and cooling immediately to maintain the structure down to the finest detail. The rich chocolate taste burst contains a hint of anise; crisp and fine in texture, the sweet mixture dissolves on the tongue and leaves a lingering fudge finish.

The future of choc art

Though you probably won’t be able to manufacture your own chocolate hearts in time for Valentines’ Day, the Hershey/ 3D Systems CocoJet hybrid is just the tip of the sugary iceberg. The Consumer Electronics Show also showcased two more mouth-watering creations –  XYZ’s Butter Cookie printer, with dough drawn in ornate loops, and ChefJet’s Tart Blackberry Candy, which prints layers of blackberry syrup for melt-in-your-mouth goodness.

Watch out, Willy Wonka, and watch this 3D printing space.

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