April 13, 2008

A Pretentious Name that is Causing a Lot of Buzz

I have been intrigued by a small storefront that goes by the rather pretentious name of "O Melhor Bolo de Chocolate do mundo" - The World's Best Chocolate Cake. A few friends recommended the place and it's getting pretty good press. From a pure buzz factor, I have to admit the strategy of making such a compelling claim is working. So, we decided to go there this afternoon to check if the cake lives up to its name.  Once there, I found out that it's actually a franchise of the original that started in Lisbon in 1987 created by Carlos Braz Lopes. He used to own a restaurant that became famous for the chocolate cake that was on the menu. The cake became so famous, that he decided to open a shop entirely dedicated to his secret recipe. I particularly love when a business model is focused in positioning itself as the very best in a particular category. The model couldn't be simpler. It's all about the chocolate cake that comes in only two options:  traditional with 53% cocoa and a bitter version with 70% cocoa, both made with Valrhona® premium French chocolate (which my wife knew from Nigella's cookbooks). The coffee and a special mint/citrus tea blend were developed to harmonize with the cake. The São Paulo shop is very small, so it was inevitable to hear people from the other tables discussing whether they thought the chocolate cake was or not the very best.  I'm definitely not a chocolate cake expert, so I can't tell you if it is or not the world's best.... but I have to say... it's the best I ever had. 

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