Brooklyn has its own Willy Wonka in Jacques Torres
BY JAIME DEJESUS, HEATHER CHIN & HELEN KLEIN
“Chocolate has no age” is the motto of renowned chocolatier Jacques Torres. Since 2000, Torres has opened several chocolate shops around New York City. The company prides itself on real, authentic ingredients that are made in New York in a factory now located at the Brooklyn Army Terminal.
During a recent factory tour, several of Torres’ specialties were presented, all freshly made. The first item on the agenda was soft, rich-tasting chocolate chip cookies ($18). Not only were they warm and large, but after a bite, fresh chocolate oozed into the mouth. They were quite the tasty treat.
Next up were chocolate covered pretzels ($12). Torres has perfected them by adding just the right amount of chocolate. The chocolate is creamy and the pretzel compliments the overall flavor with the perfect amount of salt.
Various pieces of chocolates were also available to sample. We tried the Love Potion #9, a chocolate as unique as its name. The piece includes a pattern of red and yellow x’s and o’s on top. The dominant flavor was dark chocolate, contrasted with a cream filling which Torres describes as a secret recipe. Secret or not, it delivers in richness.
Other tidbits tasted included chocolate covered almonds ($7-$13), which were freshly roasted, with the nut providing the top note, contrasting with the taste of the chocolate.
Also palate-pleasing was the beautifully designed small chocolate snowman. The product, which almost looks too well-crafted to be eaten, sports a rich combination of both dark and milk chocolate. It’s difficult to eat due to its size (available in both 4 and 10.5 inches: $7 to $49) but once you do, the hollow piece delivers.
A box of Torres’ chocolates ($19.20-$66) offered a scintillating array of flavors. The cinnamon praline was both smooth and creamy with the inimitable savor of cinnamon playing off against the soothing intensity of milk chocolate. The Cappuccino bonbon was comprised of a milk chocolate dome enclosing a burst of creamy cappuccino. In the Heavenly Hazelnut bonbon, milk chocolate enrobed an intense hazelnut ganache, and in Wicked Fun, the palate teasing dark chocolate was spiked with chipotle pepper.
Torres’ take on fruit and tea combinations are innovative and impressively flavorful. The Creamy Raspberry fills your mouth with as juicy a burst of berry as you can imagine, while the Alizé Hearts of Passion merge passion fruit and Alizé liquor in a heady blend. Similarly, the Pineapple Pastis is sweet and slightly dense—like a cross between gummies and Jello— with the filling contrasting with the creamy milk chocolate ganache. Love Bug is as playful on the outside as it is vibrant on the inside, with the flavor of key lime subtly working its way through the milk chocolate.
Also in the sampler was an eye-catching Chai Tea chocolate that surprised with its ability to pack so much Indian spiced tea flavor into such a small bite, while the Chocolate Mint Tea chocolate is both light and deliciously creamy, and the Earl Grey manages to perfectly balance the tea’s slight bitterness with the dark chocolate’s richer undertones.
“It’s real,” Torres said of his chocolate. “It’s made in New York.”
Jacques Torres Chocolate
66 Water Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Monday through Saturday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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