Out of the Box: Detroit’s Bon Bon Bon
Crafting funky chocolates in a Rosie the Riveter bandanna and coveralls, Alexandra Clark of Bon Bon Bon gives froufrou candy-making a Detroit-style update. Here’s how.
She plays nice. And naughty. Alex adored her high school job at a scoop shop. "The thing I really loved about ice cream is what I love about chocolate," she says. "You get to be with people when they're being naughty. Not forbidden, not risqué, but a little naughty."
She's no Forrest Gump. With a box of Alexandra Clark chocolates, you always know what you're gonna get. Her $3 bonbons are thin chocolate shells (boxes themselves, really) with no top, so the filling is exposed. The design is a metaphor: "We are an open and honest business." Rather than convey an air of finnicky perfection, her staff shares kitchen mishaps on Instagram, to the glee of adoring fans.
She ditched the white coat. Bon Bon Bon's industrial aesthetic isn't hipster affectation. It's born-and-bred Motor City practicality: "Every time I put on a white chef's coat and got covered in chocolate, it was like, ‘Who thought that was a good idea?'" Same goes for her corrugated cardboard packaging. Compared to tissue sleeves and satin ribbons, the inexpensive, tough material protects the candy and allows Alex to invest in better ingredients.
Home is where the shop is. Bon Bon Bon's flagship storefront is in Hamtramck, a blue-collar neighborhood that recently became America's first majority-Muslim community. "If we're at the shop past dinnertime, and people are out walking, they'll bring by food," Alex says. "Our neighbors don't have tons of money, but they want to see something good happen here."
Alex and her staff experiment constantly with flavors. But the Better Butter Crunch is a perennial favorite, featuring milk chocolate, sea salt and Detroit's beloved Better Made potato chips (bonbonbon.com).
Photographs: Courtesy of Bon Bon Bon