Chocolate Tour of NYC! A new perspective on touring

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).

Chocolate Tour NYC

How much Nutella can you eat? 11 pounds? If so, head over to the Nutella store that’s in Eataly on 23rd Street

Chocolate Tour NYC

A wall of Nutella in the Nutella store at Eataly. One can never have enough Nutella!

 

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 tour NYC

The tour had us meet outside Chelsea Market. Inside was a Li-Lac booth selling holiday chocolates (Santas and gold coins, among other goodies)

Chocolate Tour NYC

Li-Lac Chocolates in the West Village. The owner apparently was from Greece. They used to make the chocolates in Manhattan, but now make them in Brooklyn.

Chocolate Tour NYC

The first Magnolia bakery, where those oversized cupcakes help start the cupcake craze

Chocolate Tour NYC

Another form of chocolate in the form of cookies. We stopped at Milk & Cookies bakery, which happens to be next to a historic townhouse once owned by Aaron Burr.

Chocolate Tour NYC

A Japanese chocolatier, Royce, has locations around the city. This beauty contains white chocolate and maccha (premium green tea leaves)

Chocolate Tour NYC

Near the Japanese chocolate store was a Macaron Cafe. There are several of these around the city too. The macarons (not to be confused with macaroons) are gluten free. I did indulge in chocolate ones!

Chocolate Tour NYC

The last stop was Vosges Haut-Chocolat in SoHo. They have a whole display of bacon flavored chocolates! I later discovered these bars are also for sale in my local upscale supermarket (Fairway).

Chocolate Tour NYC

The best way to end a chocolate tour on a cold day?? Hot cocoa, of course! Vosges Haut-Chocolat serves 3 kinds. I had the “Aztec Elixir Drinking Chocolate” mmmmm

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!


RESOURCES:

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:

Tour:

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):

Chocolat Moderne

Max Brenner shop page

Li-Lac Chocolates

2beans

Magnolia Bakery

Nutella Bar/Eataly

Jacques Torres SoHo

Royce

Macaron Cafe

Vosges SoHo

Have Chocolate Delivered to You via Amazon:

Vosges sampler

Max Brenner sampler

Jacques Torres Wicked Hot Chocolate

Royce Nama Maccha  or Royce Nama Chocolate Au Lait

Nutella single serve collection

Macaron Cafe Cookbook (so you can make your own!)

Magnolia Cupcake Cookbook by one of the original owners

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5 Comments

  1. Pat

    Hey, sounds fun exploring for chocolate.
    My surprise re chocolate was several years ago when Max Brenner chocolate restaurant and store opened on Broadway just below 14th street. Their chocolate toffee treats are the best ever! You mention them in your resource list – they’re also great fun to visit: 841 Broadway just below 14th street. Here’s a link: http://maxbrenner.com/mobile/locations/usa/restaurant-nyc

    Reply
    • Stacey Newman Weldon

      Thanks Pat! There’s a store on the other side of Union Square I want to check out too – the Cocoa Store (it’s next to Rosa Mexicana)

      Reply
  2. Lisa

    Great fun. I am available if you need a chocolate tester.

    Reply
    • Stacey Newman Weldon

      testing those limits indeed will be an adventure! And thanks for the other chocolate tour info!

      Reply

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