A chocolate tour of NYC? With an adventurous outlook and a love of chocolate...well, why not?
A few years ago, after I had learned that the cacao bean was my 'spirit animal' (or food), I decided that maybe learning to make chocolate or get into the chocolate industry would be my path. I found chocolate stores near the office where I worked at the time.
The Start of My Explorations
One was Jacques Torres Chocolate in SoHo (it almost looks like a factory, since you can see them making the confections through the windows). On a cold day after a client meeting, I went in and tried their "Wicked Hot Chocolate" made with Mexican spices. It was so thick and rich, and spicy, I couldn't drink the whole thing! But I did enjoy every sip I had. During a trip into the city with my sons I took them there. This was no "instant hot cocoa" like they've ever had before. They too couldn't drink all their hot chocolate...but I think I did spoil them for ever drinking the cheap stuff.
Another place I went to check out is Chocolat Moderne. It's a small shop on 20th Street, on the 9th floor! After a long discussion with the owner, I decided that learning to make artisanal chocolates was not in my future. However, the chocolates there are wonderfully flavored and worth a stop.
Eataly (a collection of food stalls, markets and bars with an Italian theme) was also near my offices and has a small store just for Nutella. Here you could buy all things Nutella! I love the building where this Eataly is as it used to be the "Toy Building" (tour tip - check out the Lego store for a full history of the building).
I think this started my inspiration of exploring NYC through chocolate. As the way things happen, I have this idea and then the Universe sends me signs to go for it. In this case, Living Social started sending me deals on chocolate tours! I finally chose to do it, as a learning experience. One Wednesday, I bought my tickets in the Spring, thinking it would be fun to do with a visiting friend over the summer. However, she was not able to come up and by November Living Social was reminding me to use my passes. So, one pretty chilly day in December my Adventure Partner and I confirmed our attendance.
Chocolate Tour NYC- With A Guide
The best part of the tour was the knowledge of the guide. The next was the sampling of chocolates of all kinds. The tour company was able to secure special deals and freebies (yay!). From artisanal confections, to cupcakes, to cookies, and finally to a place with gourmet hot cocoa. Below are some photo highlights (I do recommend the tour, as the guide also shows interesting NYC spots along the way - like scenes from movies/shows and speakeasies)
Chocolate Adventure Dreams
My head is still bursting with ideas for creating my own chocolate tour. Which may or may not include bars that serve chocolate infused drinks (did you know Hershey's flagship store in Times Square has a bar attached?) and there is the Ayza Chocolate & Wine bar on 31st. I look forward to exploring places I have yet to try. For example, the Wonka-like dessert-destination Max Brenner's: Chocolate by the Bald Man bar/restaurant just south of Union Square (which has a hot chocolate on several "top" lists).
Many of these places have locations in other cities too. And the company that offered the NYC Chocolate Tour has them in so many other cities. Which, of course, has inspired me to create my own tour of the next city I'm venturing to - San Francisco! I've offered to take my friends I'm traveling with on a chocolate tour while there...now - to find the places and map it out!
Let me know if you create your own Chocolate Adventure tour (in the comments below)! I'd love to hear them!
Just in case you want the chocolate shipped to you directly, you know, for a home tasting adventure, or go on your own explorations, here are some links for you:
Best Tours Chocolate Tour (This company has tours in tons of cities! Use my code and get 50% off tours: VAWLY0KTWBY8 )
Create Your Own Tour (suggestions):
Have Chocolate Delivered to You via Amazon:
Macaron Cafe Cookbook (so you can make your own!)