Kiehl's Opens Chicago Flagship Store With Edible Packing Peanuts, Cotton-Candy Paper

December 15, 2011, 3:06 PM EST

Photo: Jack Edinger

Kiehl's Grand Opening Karnival
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If a company's president is a bearded motorcycle enthusiast—as is the case with Chris Salgardo, head of Kiehl's—its events are bound to be a little edgy. When the cosmetics company hosted an open-to-the public bash on Friday, December 9, to celebrate the opening of its Midwest flagship store, planners selected a carnival theme. But apart from balloon twisters and jugglers, the touches that typically breathe life into the whimsical concept were absent. The in-house team, based in New York, tapped Zapwater Communications to assist with publicity and planning.

Instead of candied apples, Kiehl's Karnival offered molecular gastronomy. Moto chefs and Top Chef: Texas contestants Richie Farina and Chris Jones took over the task of designing thematic snacks, and prepared and served them on site.

Items included edible slices of paper that tasted like, and bore cheerful images of, cotton candy. Citrus slices were made with carbonated fruit and took on the fizzy nature of orange soda. A popcorn-like snack that chefs called “edible packing peanuts” was dipped into dry ice and became shrouded in smoke. Guests left with bags of Miracle Berry Powder, made with a West African fruit that turns sour flavors sweet.

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