New Yorkers hate to wait on line. So it’s not surprising that curious passers-by, eyeing the stream of humanity snaking out the door of the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan, stretching down the block, around the corner and halfway down the next block, often stop to ask what it’s all about.
“Chocolate!” comes the answer, as if such a long line could be for anything else.
This is a scene that plays out for four consecutive days each November, whenever the New York Chocolate Show comes to town, as it has now for eight years. For a growing number of chocoholics, this is the Sweet-Tooth World Series, a highly-anticipated event at which diets and dentists are temporarily forgotten. This is where you’ll find the good stuff, the work of the finest chocolate artisans—no Hershey bars or Milky Ways here—and where you can taste it.
The New York Chocolate Show is the creation of Sylvie Douce and François Jeantet, who began with a Paris version 12 years ago. “We had a passion for chocolate, and we decided it deserved an event to celebrate it,” said the pair in a joint interview. “It was hugely successful in France, and we knew that New Yorkers were great chocolate fans as well. But we are always amazed and grateful that people wait patiently to get in to discover our magical Chocolate Show.”
As soon as you step through the doors, the overwhelming aroma of rich chocolate overtakes. Like an adult in a candy store, you don’t know which way to walk first. Laid out in front of you is a sea of booths, more than 65 exhibitors representing some of the world’s finest chocolatiers. Many are handing out free samples. Lingering first over a mini-cup of hot chocolate, you survey the landscape. It’s time to indulge.
They come from all over the United States; the companies; some come from France and one, Mary’s, from Tokyo. For the exhibitors, the show is an opportunity to recruit new customers and hopefully go home with a few bucks—it’s no accident that the show takes place at the start of the holiday shopping season.
“Most of the other shows that we do are for people in the trade,” said Ilene Shane, president and chocolatier of the New York-based SweetBliss (www.sweetbliss.com). “This gives us exposure to the consumer. Not everybody knows about SweetBliss unless they’ve been to Bergdorf Goodman or to one of our tastings. So this hits a great cross-section of consumers and then they will seek it our or go to our web site and purchase it.”
Shane and SweetBliss’ vice president of marketing, Iris Libby, launched the company in 2002 after Shane spent eight years working as clothing designer Ralph Lauren’s private chef. After experimenting with a number of different ideas, Shane settled on what she calls an “All-American” line of chocolate products. One, “Baby Shoes,” is described on the company’s web site as “Almost too cute to eat: solid dark Belgian chocolate, hand-decorated in baby-bright colors…a perfect gift for that new or expectant mother.” The Moo Collection includes the “Elvis Moo,” an “all natural banana marshmallow layered w
Bite-size Chocolate Almond Brownies
Courtesy Jacques Torres and MrChocolate.com LLC
For the plain dough:
1-3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons almond paste
9 tablespoon butter, melted
Scant 1/2 cup or 7 tablespoons cocoa powder
Use a stand mixer with paddle to mix the almond paste. Gradually add the eggs. It is important to add the eggs one at a time. Add the cocoa powder. Then, warm the melted butter and add it to the mixture until completely combined. Butter and flour mini muffin tins. If you prefer, you can use paper liners for the muffin tin. Fill each cavity 1/8-inch from the top. Bake at 350 F for 8 minutes. Do not overbake or the brownies will be too dry.
SweetBliss’ Chocolate Pudding from Scratch
By Chef Ilene C. Shane, Courtesy SweetBliss (www.sweetbliss.com)
1 cup sugar
7 tablespoons Dutch Cocoa
3 tablespoons Corn Starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
8 oz. Semi sweet high quality chocolate
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon Vanilla