The history of confectionary cacao is indeed a rich one, beginning in the ancient forests of Ecuador and culminating -- via the likes of Cortez and Columbus -- in the sophisticated chocolate factories of Neuhause and Belcolade.
At Soho's new Museum of Chocolate, Choco Story, visitors learn about the bean’s delicious journey from the New World to Europe and back again. A 5000-year history is expertly condensed in a well detailed and documented exhibit.
Fun fact: In giving precedence to his search for gold over chocolate, Columbus confounded the indigenous people who held the cacao bean in far greater esteem. Personally, I agree with the locals!
On the tour, I also learned that there are three varieties of cocoa beans: the criollo, forastero and trinitario. In addition to all this brainy stuff about the decadent substance we’ve come to know and love (if you don’t, you’re living life all wrong), every half hour Mr. Torres himself performs a hands-on demonstration of how chocolate is tempered (chemically balanced) and made into delicious bon bons.
Kids will love it. Adults with a sweet tooth will too. I even brought back a few treats for the team and they all gave it a very chocolatey thumbs up.
Jacques Torres Chocolate
350 Hudson St. (between Charlton & King streets)
Gunter Kleemann is the Director of Concierge Services for The Edry Team and the face of our Concierge a la Maison service. He has come to the team after an illustrious 15-year career as a concierge at several premiere luxury properties and most recently held the title of Chef Concierge at the New York Palace Hotel.