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In time for Valentine’s Day: Brooklyn’s ultimate Chocolate Tasting Trail Map

February 5, 2018 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Just in time for Valentine’s Day: Brooklyn’s new Chocolate Tasting Trail Map. Map courtesy of the Brooklyn Chamber’s Explore Brooklyn
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For more than a century, Brooklyn has been home to some of the city’s finest chocolatiers. Now, just in time for Valentine’s Day, Explore Brooklyn, part of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, has released its first Chocolate Tasting Trail Map.

The self-guided tour brings chocolate lovers — and maybe sweethearts —  to a dozen local chocolatiers, factories and tasting rooms across the borough, from Sunset Park to Greenpoint. The map includes addresses, websites, hours and the closest subway stations.

Brooklyn has a long history of chocolate-making that began in the early 20th century, and New York City has been a major trading point for cocoa since the 1700s. Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Andrew Hoan said the group hopes the map will encourage more people to explore the thriving industry.

One thing to notice about the chocolate makers is that each specializes in a slightly different aspect of the craft. Some include organic, gluten-free or kosher confections. All offer tours or tastings (call first for tour hours).

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Red Hook’s Raaka Chocolates, for example, specialize in “raw” chocolates, somewhat reminiscent of the cocoa consumed by the ancient Mayans and Aztecs, who considered chocolate to be “food of the gods” and an aphrodisiac. (Which is why it might be a good idea to take the tour on Valentine’s Day.) Raaka starts with the raw cocoa beans, and winnows, grinds and mixes them from scratch.

In a different vein, Li-Lac Chocolates (founded in 1923) is renowned for small-batch, handmade artisanal delicacies. At their chocolate factory at Industry City (Sunset Park), customers can look in through picture windows and see the chocolate-making underway.

Cacao Prieto, in Red Hook, produces organic chocolate bars in a variety of cocoa percentages, and all-natural bonbons, starting from the pod. They also brew cacao-based rums and liqueurs, so you can drink your chocolate.

Speaking of drinking your chocolate — master chocolatier Jacques Torres crafts fresh, hand-made chocolate truffles and bars, and killer hot chocolate so thick it stands up to a spoon. Chocolates are now produced in his 40,000 square foot state-of-the-art factory at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, but they can be purchased at the DUMBO shop.

No Brooklyn chocolate tour would be complete without a visit to one of the borough’s Chocolate Rooms (Park Slope and Cobble Hill) — chocolate-infused cafes where you can dine on chocolate cake, cookies, candies and brownies, along with chocolate fondue, chocolate stout and more.

The complete list of chocolate stops includes:

  • Cacao Market by Maribelle
  • Cacao Prieto
  • Chocolate Works
  • Chocolicious
  • Fine & Raw
  • Jacques Torres
  • JoMart Chocolates
  • Liddabit Sweets
  • Li-Lac Chocolates
  • Raaka
  • The Chocolate Room
  • Tumbador Chocolates

Many of the stops in the guide are also available through A Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours, a Brooklyn-based company (asliceofbrooklyn.com) partnering with the Chamber to publicize the chocolate map.

The slogan for the bus tour is “Hershey’s? FUHGETTABOUDIT!” Slice of Brooklyn CEO Tony Muia said in a statement.


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