Visiting the Jacques Torres Chocolate shop in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) is just as their website describes it, “like stepping into a small European specialty store.” It is a small, quaint space that invites you to stay and sip hot chocolate (as long as you can score a table from the few available) while trying to decide which gourmet chocolate drink, bar or baked good you want to take home with you. This is my kind of chocolate store, and I was hoping for an even more impressive experience when I went to visit Jaques Torres’ newest branch, Chocolate Haven.
Maybe it was my experience at the DUMBO store, or just having come from Marie Belle, but as soon as I walked into Chocolate Haven I felt lost. The space is large and rather empty, with only a few sweets along the wall to browse through. Open windows along both sides of the store allow visitors to see the chocolate machines in action, but the factory is so white and stark that the comforting feeling of a chocolate shop is lost. There is a small fountain area where you can get drinks and pastries, but the atmosphere is not the “haven” I was expecting.
While browsing for stocking stuffers, I looked along the side wall and found nothing that I could give as a small gift. I turned to a long, glass covered counter in the back and was able to find a small box of chocolate covered marshmallows with the clerk’s help. The staff was great – very helpful and willing to describe the products and pricing in detail. While talking to the clerk she noticed the bag from MarieBelle in my hand and told me that they get their chocolate from Jacques Torres. While MarieBelle’s packaging is unparalleled, you’ll spend much less if you buy the chocolate directly from Jacques Torres (aka Mr. Chocolate) himself.
I hope that Chocolate Haven warms up over the next few months, but until then I’ll get my Jacques Torres fix from the DUMBO store.
Jaques Torres Chocolate
Jacques Torres Chocolate (DUMBO)
66 Water Street (Between the Brooklyn & Manhattan Bridges)
Brooklyn, New York 11201
350 Hudson at King Street (in lower Manhattan)
New York, New York 10014
484 Broome Street
New York, NY 10013