Logan • Willy Wonka, as the story goes, turned “pure imagination” into a beloved chocolate bar.
And earlier this month, a Utah woman got the chance to go to Utah State University to turn her own childhood memories into chocolate.
This year, Gricelda Arzaluz won the opportunity to be Willy Wonka for a day. Arzaluz — a graphic designer and adult ESL student at American One English School in West Valley City — created, designed and ultimately poured a chocolate bar of her own imagination at Aggie Chocolate Factory in Logan.
She said the idea for the candy — a dark chocolate bar with sprinkles of pistachios — came from growing up in Mexico City with her family.
“My idea comes from my childhood experience with my dad,” she said. “He usually gave me pistachios instead of candies.”
Arzaluz brought her idea to reality as part of an annual competition called the Chocolate Project, which was created by her teacher, Mark Sanderson, who started the competition three years ago with his middle school students. Sanderson would have students read Roald Dahl’s book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” before telling students they would design a chocolate bar as a school project.
“That’s when he contacted us to say, ‘Could we bring students to the Chocolate Factory?’” said Steve Bernet, manager of the Aggie Chocolate Factory.
Though Sanderson now teaches at American One English School — which offers courses to teach English as a second language — the concept remains the same. Students read the classic novel and pitch their ideas in class. Arzaluz’s chocolate bar was the winner.
She created the bar from end to end, starting with the concept and designing the labels. The bar is called, Gracy Bite, referring to a nickname given to her by family.
Arzaluz said she enjoyed reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and coming to Logan and getting a taste of the candy-making process makes her feel like Wonka.
“I feel like I went to a fantasy world, where you can make true your dreams,” Arzaluz says with a smile.