One adventure many blind people find themselves having at holiday gatherings is choosing a chocolate from an assorted chocolate box. Creamy, chewy, sweet or bitter – we all have our favourites, but those paper legends included in the box, they’re no good when you can’t see to read them. Enter the Purdys chocolates Braille Box…
People who like to be surprised, (blind people included) maybe don’t mind so much. It’s those who like to know what to expect looking for a little reassurance, even before biting into an assorted piece of chocolate, who might want to read the legend like anyone else. It reminds me of the Every Flavour Beans in the Harry Potter book series, where colour tells you nothing about what’s inside the bean and no amount of sight or magic will help in just such a situation.
You should see my face when I take a bite of a chocolate from an assorted box and a surprise flavour catches me completely off guard. Independence, (even and especially for a worthy cause such as chocolate) is intensely validating, making and capping off my holiday and year when I heard about this product’s design and release at the end of 2021.
Purdys is a Canadian, west coast company who last year released a specially designed box, The Holiday Braille Box. According to the company’s Content and Marketing Manager, Julia Cho: “Chocolate is involved in all the senses—you eat it, you smell it, you touch it, We realized that the chocolate legend relies on visual cues and there was kind of a disconnect between reading the legend and finding your chocolate.”
This 18-piece box includes a braille key where the different chocolates are listed in a grid of squares. From left to right, three rows and six per row, both raised print letters and braille l(Left) and r(Right) on the side (in case the lid gets turned wrong-way round); it’s a roadmap to a favourite flavour.
For those who don’t read braille, there’s a QR code on the legend that takes you to more info on the Purdys website that you can access with a screenreader. Purdys worked with consultants who are blind to make the Holiday Braille Box—which was so popular it soon became simply The Braille Box—as inclusive as possible.
From heart shapes to flowers, butterscotch, nutty clusters to pyramids of coffee crunch, and don’t forget the beloved hedgehog shape, Purdys chocolates tantalize the sense of touch, too! My favourites are the two peanut butter selections, one like crunchy peanut butter and the other smooth. Or there’s the silky white chocolate and the ever-popular salted caramel, complete with the rough texture of Himalayan salt crystals sprinkled on top – both milk and dark to choose from.
From the syrupy sweet fruit flavours to the dark selection caramels, the wide range of tastes, flavours, and textures all stand out with vibrancy. When you lift the lid on some Purdys chocolates—well, let’s say, braille’s never smelled this heavenly before, at least not in the decades I’ve been reading it.
This beautifully designed, sleek, deep purple box – (tactile logo and braille labeling) makes this product a delicacy perfect for holiday celebrations and for celebrating with any old time. Its tactility and accessibility make it inclusive and decadent for every chocolate lover on any gift list.
So try out some Purdys chocolates and show companies, of all kinds, why accessibility such as braille on products and packages is so worth it for their customers and their business both.
Even if you’re going to treat yourself, I say feel good about that and order the Braille Box from Purdys Chocolatier.
Order your Braille Box and other chocolaty goodness at Purdys.com!
–About the Author—
Kerry Kijewski is an assistant editor at Aromatica Poetica. She is a Canadian writer, podcaster, advocate, and sensitivity reader who works to improve accessibility and representation in the arts. She was born low vision, but now is nearly blind. Writing using all available senses matters greatly to her. You can find her podcast, Outlook, On Radio Western. Or check out her blog, Her Headache and follow her on Twitter @KKHerheadache.