Re: your question, Still the questions remain, what are more of the characteristics that define this $100 bar?
My take on this is similar to Lanes. Among other things I own a marketing company, so from a purely marketing perspective it seems to me that a legitimate $100 chocolate bar requires the same three things as any other product that is priced in the top tier and substantially above the norm:
1) A level of quality that is significantly and unquestionably above the norm.
2) A level of rarity that makes the item prized beyond even the issue of quality.
3) A pool of possible customers who can be identified and reached, and who have both the desire and ability to spend money on this product.
And here in my opinion is where we run into the main problem. When we ask whether or not any chocolate exists that is worth $50/ounce, or what the traits of that chocolate would be, we are asking the wrong questions. The issue is not the product. The issue is the customer. And by that I mean that there is no pool of customers for a $100 chocolate bar. And if there is no customer for a $100 chocolate bar, then there is no $100 chocolate bar. And there are no meaningful traits for a product that cannot be sold.
Im not trying to be cynical for effect. I think that this is an important topic. But I also think that the discussions I see about this nearly always confuse what generates value and therefore pricing. I think its critical to remember that the makers control quality, but the buyers control value.
Lets recall the history of lobster. Until the mid-19th century lobster was considered garbage food. It was only eaten by the very poor, and even then only if nothing else was available. Servants on the east coast even had it written into their contracts that they could not be forced to eat lobster more than twice a week. Suffice it to say that one of the most popular uses for lobster at that time was as fertilizer. It wasnt until well into the 20th century that lobster became a gourmet item. Now imagine a discussion in 1850 about the traits for a $50 lobster roll. It would have been a short conversation, but not for lack of quality. The reason you could not have sold a $50 lobster roll in 1850 was not that the quality was not possible. The reason is that the customer was not possible.
And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, the same thing applies to coffee. What are the traits of a $100 pound of coffee? In 2012 we can now delineate those traits. In 1972 we could not have done so because there were no customers for that product then. It took the specialty coffee industry 40 years to get to this point, and there is still much work to be done. Currently, at least in the U.S., it does not appear that craft chocolate is anywhere close to this.
The good news is that Americans love chocolate. The further good news is that the American appreciation of craft (dark, specialty, etc) chocolate is definitely rising. The bad news is that after 100+ years of buying cheap industrial chocolate, most Americans still dont value chocolate very much and simply dont believe it should ever be that expensive. Chocolate, as was the case with coffee until the second wave, is viewed as both inexpensive and common.
Changing that viewpoint and building a pool of customers who understand, accept and value the difference between craft and industrial chocolate is the key, and is directly analogous to the change in consumer viewpoints and buying habits that happened (and is still happening) in the specialty coffee industry. Only when a large enough pool of potential customers understand craft chocolate and are invested in it, will a $100 bar begin to be possible. In other words, the path to a $100 chocolate bar does not begin with the product. It begins with the customer.
The specialty coffee movement had thousands of coffee houses spread across the country with which to evangelize the masses. What does the craft chocolate movement have? That is the question we should be asking. In my view, its only when we have a suitable answer to that question that we can really even begin to start talking about $100 bars.