When New York food comes to mind, people usually think of two things: pizza and bagels. I want to challenge you. I want you to think of CHOCOLATE! A Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours has designed New York City’s first bus tour that brings you to artisanal chocolate shops. I was honored to be included on their inaugural chocolate tour, after I had such a fabulous time on their pizza tour!
A tour that’s calorie free, sugar free, and guilt free…
Tony, the owner of A Slice of Brooklyn, took us to four high-end chocolate shops throughout Brooklyn. Let me just say, come to this tour hungry!
Jacque Torres Chocolate.
Jacque Torres Chocolate was the first stop on our chocolate tour. With a slogan of “Chocolate is good for you,” how could you resist?! This famous pastry chef from France came in the 1980s and hasn’t left. In 2000, before Dumbo, Brooklyn was a hot spot, he opened his chocolate shop reminiscent of a french pastry shop.
He recently opened a NYC line of chocolates with specialties like dark chocolate covered blueberries, milk chocolate covered cherries, and chocolate covered macadamia nuts! Thinking about them just makes my mouth water! I think chocolate covered blueberries might be my new “go to” chocolate.
Did you know that the sugary coating of M&M’s were designed for soldiers going into World War II so that they would “melt in your mouth, not in your hand?”
The Chocolate Room.
The Chocolate Room, owned by Naomi and John, is the place to go to for a rich chocolate fix. The owners came to New York to be a dance and a drummer in a rock band, but then they quickly realized that there was no where for them to get good dessert.
They opened The Chocolate Room eight years ago because of their passion to go out and have dessert together; they wanted to make chocolate an experience. Located in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, an area known for it’s cobblestone streets, brown houses, and three-story walkups, they realized that “there’s always room for chocolate.”
Their chocolate cake was won numerous awards and was rated as Oprah’s favorite chocolate. We were lucky enough to sample not only their incredible chocolate cake (in cupcake form), but their dark hot chocolate as well. To this day, I cannot believe how delicious the chocolate cake was. I can completely understand why it has won awards!
Did you know that one plain chocolate bar has more protein than a banana?
If you’re looking for melt in your mouth chocolate with an abundance of flavor, make your way to Red Hook, Brooklyn. After tasting Raaka’s chocolate, you’d be shocked to discover that all of their chocolates are vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free. “Happiness is unroasted,” as Raaka uses raw cocoa beans to make chocolate.
They import their beans from Bolivia, Madagascar, and the Dominican Republic, spin the beans for three days, and (ta-da!)….amazing chocolate. Raaka’s trying to make a difference in the buyer-seller world; all of the wrappers are made from recycled paper, the shell casings of the beans are donated to schools to use for mulch, and they try to import all of their beans from less-developed countries. Raaka is trying to make a difference in the lives of the people they’re buying from. Other than being Earth friendly, Raaka specializes in unique flavor combinations; Bourbon Cast-Aged, Pink Sea Salt, Mint & Nibs, Coconut Milk, and Smoked Chai are just some examples of their flavors! All I can say is that these bars are worth every cent.
Did you know that studies have found consumption of dark chocolate to lower the risk of heart disease?
To break up our chocolate tasting, we made a brief stop at Valentino Pier. With the exception of Governors Island, this offered us one of the closest views of the Statue of Liberty possible (without being there, of course!).
Did you know that Chocolate has an anti-bacterial effect on the mouth and protects against tooth decay?
Li-Lac Chocolates was our final stop of the tour with A Slice of Brooklyn. “Stubbornly Old Fashioned,” this chocolate shop opened in 1923. Believe it or not, this is Manhattan’s oldest chocolate house. They are known for their old style chocolates and some of the most incredible chocolate molds — they have over 1,000 molds! Incredibly, most of the chocolates are the founder’s original recipes from the 1920s! Here, we had an array of incredibly rich chocolate almond bark. As this was our last chocolate shop, I struggled to get through that final bite!
Did you know that the smell of chocolate increases theta brain waves, which triggers relaxation?
And with that, we headed back to Union Square. A Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours not only knew how to provide a chocolate experience that left your sugar levels happy for weeks, but knew how to make it both enjoyable and informative as well. Next time I need a serious chocolate fix, I’ll be back!