Chomper Romper Room: Jacques Torres’s Chocolate Haven

There is the kid in all of us and then there is the kid that’s not in all of us. The kid in all of us loves chocolate and Willy Wonka and brightens at the very idea of Jacques Torres’s Chocolate Haven:

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Located in TriBeCa, this new chocolate factory actually involves the pure production of chocolate–from the cacao beans themselves. The atmosphere is classy and magical. Like this scene from the hot chocolate bar:

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Classy and magical, that is, except for that other kid mentioned above—“the kid that’s not in all of us.” That’s the kid that’s outside of us, running around and screaming and throwing a fit and toppling over chairs and throwing hot chocolate. Now multiply that kid by 10 and you’ll know what it was like inside Torres’s shop today.

I realize some of you have children. I applaud you—children are really important. Without children, who would keep Michael Jackson’s bed warm while he sleeps on the floor in a sleeping bag? [Ok, sorry for that. Too easy.]

So anyway, my point is, that if you have kids–that’s great–but I’m sure you’re better parents than the parents in the chocolate shop today. These kids were exploding all over the store and it was chaos. Not fun! Kids were banging into me and crawling past me and singing in falsetto voices: “One two Freddy’s coming for you…” It was horrifying.

But that aside the chocolate was great. Lisa, John and I (who you will meet in a moment in Chinatown) each got hot chocolate. Lisa and John got the wimpy kinds, but I got “Wicked Hot Chocolate” which has heat and spices. Here’s mine:

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And if you ever plan on going there and you’re scared to get this because it’s too spicy, it really wasn’t. It was perfect and had lots of flavor. Lisa liked mine better than hers.

Then John bought a chocolate chip cookie:

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It was awesome. I love cookies like this. I’ve never made a cookie like this. How does one make a cookie like this? Big and crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle. Perfect!

Hey, look at this guy roasting cacoa beans:

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Won’t see that in the Hershey store in Times Square, that’s for sure. [And what’s the deal with the Hershey store in Times Squre? (I sound like a failed stand-up comic tonight. “What’s the deal with failed stand-up comics?”) (Did you ever see that Molly Shannon skit where she goes: “Don’t get me started!” It’s really funny.) Anyway, Hershey store–what’s the deal with it? Why do tourists line up to buy Hershey t-shirts and kisses caps? Don’t get me started!]

As a final treat, I bought Lisa, John and myself each one chocolate treat. Mine was the heart in the middle with passionfruit inside. Lisa’s had apricot and marzipan. John’s had cappucino:

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We all enjoyed them immensely. Then we trampled 8 children and made our way out into the blistering cold. Don’t get me started!

10 comments

  1. Ahhh… Jaque Torres. The cutest frenchman in the world. And a true chocolate nerd, judging from his cooking special on the food channel “How to make chocolate sculptures”. I love him! Unfortunately, I never got to his shop in Dumbo because, yikes, they are closed on Sundays!

    And yes, thank you Adam, aren’t todays kids annoying?! I love children and the sanctity of motherhood and all that, but whenever I am out and about I feel the desire to start disciplining other people’s children, especially when parents smile lovingly as their children bang their heads against glass cases, throw sugar packets across restaurants and scream delightfully at the top of their lungs.

    Last, I agree with you about Hershey, but Hershey is my Olive Vine. I love Hershey chocolate, and I especially love making and eating those peanutbutter cookies topped with chocolate kisses.

  2. I have a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated for an awesome, enormous crunchy/chewy oatmeal-chocolate chip cookie, but not one for a regular choc chip. I hope you find a good one!

  3. Chewy cookies: Feh! Cookies should be small and crisp. How can Greenberg’s get away with charging $25/# for such cookies? Because they’re the only ones who make them right nowadays.

  4. Hi there – longtime reader, first time commenting. I too have been to the Torres Chocolate Haven and found that the abundance of kids and too-short-for-adults furniture to be irritating. But I have a feeling that Mr. Torres doesn’t care, because he seems to be very pro-kid. How do I know? In one of his cookbooks, he uttered a phrase that never fails to freak me out:

    “I’m just like a kid on the inside!”

    (Or something to that effect.) For some reason it just gives me the willies to hear adults say that. Maybe it’s a Michael Jackson-related stigma?!?

  5. I was watching some arbitrary show on foodtv, and lo and behold, a giant cookie with a crispy outside and chewy inside. How’d they do it? A bread oven at around 500 degrees, and a large ball of cookie dough. That’s all I remember about it.

  6. “the kids that’s not in all of us” says it all, you are a genius of definitions and please may I borrow this, no-copyright?

  7. I’ve b een in love with Jacques for several years now. Last year my boyfriend and I made the pilgrimage to Jacques Torres’ Chocolate in Brooklyn, and it was just about the most beautiful place I’ve even been! I bought a whole canister of his Wicked Hot Chocolate mix, some Champagne truffles (to die for!), and a bag of chocolate covered macadamia nuts. You HAVE to go back and try some of the macadamia nuts!

  8. So, I made the cookies that Laura Floyd recommended in the comments above. Insane. These cookies are so amazing, AG. You have to make them. It’s my new go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe.

  9. a friend that quit jacques torres in august was givin me the lowdown…

    moth larvae infestation of all bark, sometimes they would see it crawling in the wrappers, and when they tossed it he would get pissed, and say to just freeze it and they would melt it back into the process (Ew)

    when he saw the employees of the amsterdam store when it first opened (most of whom are of a different race than him) he said and i quote “looks like a f@#$ing mcDonalds in there”

    lets let loose the false advertising as well he says he grinds his chocolate from beans behind closed doors, buuuuuut no. they buy bulk and just melt it down.

    please don’t give him business, he is pure concentrated evil