Forget Switzerland, New York Has Jacques Torres Chocolates!

Most people you ask, even New Yorkers, don’t know that NYC has its own chocolate factories. Fine chocolate, we are made to believe, is produced only in Switzerland, Belgium or Italy. This is hardly the case. But as more New Yorkers encounter NYC chocolate, these old biases are melting away. Jacques Torres, New York’s master chocolatier, has done more than anyone in recent memory to dispel that myth and make New York not only a chocolate destination but a place of origin.

Unlike the traditional idea of American chocolate (think Hershey’s), Jacques Torres chocolate is the work of an artisan who seeks chocolate perfection. He has accomplished almost everything as a celebrated pastry chef. First, he was the youngest winner of the MOF, a prestigious French award that recognizes artisan mastery. He spent 11 years sustaining and building Le Cirque’s already towering reputation as the place to find the best desserts in NYC at a fine dining restaurant. To this day, his stove cake is a dessert mainstay at Le Cirque. Along with three acclaimed cookbooks, he has had a successful public television series and appeared on innumerable cooking and news programs. If that was not enough, he is the Dean of Pastry Arts at the French Culinary Arts Institute, one of the best culinary schools in the U.S.

In 2000, Jacques Torres inaugurated a new age of artisan chocolate in the United States by opening a factory in the DUMBO area of Brooklyn. He brought the high standards of the old world to the new, guiding chocolate processing from an unroasted chocolate bean to a luscious chocolate bar. Before that, no American artisan chocolate went back to the actual bean.

From then on, every part of chocolate processing happens in his factory, creating fresh hand-crafted chocolates. His factory does the roasting, nib extraction, blending, couching and tempering, guaranteeing a pure high-quality product. Understandably, because of his start-to-finish philosophy, Jacques Torres chocolate had a level of quality and consistency that was once thought unimaginable in chocolate produced in the States. Soon after, he launched a factory on Hudson Street in Manhattan fitted with glass windows so customers can look into the production of world-class chocolate. No passports needed. It began a new chapter in American chocolate. Torres has not looked back since, as retail stores have popped up across Manhattan.

His chocolate company has always been a dream of his. Torres was born in France near Marseille. His birthplace lies in the north-south corridor that has defined and dominated fine chocolate for centuries, going from Belgium through western Germany to Switzerland through southeast France and down to the Piedmont region of Italy. Perhaps, he was destined to become America’s artisan chocolatier. By taking a peek into his factory that balances individual attention with equipment to see the chocolate through every stage of production, you can see that Torres has more than enough can-do spirit to succeed in NYC and the competitive world of chocolate.

At the end of the day, the chocolate itself will make you a true believer, like we have become. You’ll find his chocolate creations on AYZA’s chocolate menu, in the Jacques Torres shops & factories across NYC, and in his online store.