New York Daily Photo Analytics

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Jacques Torres

What is more universally loved than chocolate? Claims have been made that chocolate consumption releases serotonin, producing feelings of pleasure. And recent studies suggest there may be health benefits to dark chocolate.

Jacques Torres Chocolate at 350 Hudson Street was opened in 2004 (his original factory is in DUMBO Brooklyn, opened in 2000). It is one of the few places in the country that actually manufactures chocolate - and they do it on site, in Manhattan, behind glass, where the process can be viewed from the street or the interior of his shop. French chocolatier Jacques Torres has quite a pedigree with extensive culinary awards, a history of work in top restaurants worldwide. His website is excellent; there are several videos available for viewing, including ones that show the making of chocolate and various products - click here.

I learned that the chocolate making process is quite extensive. Beans arrive dried and fermented from Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Ecuador; the beans are cleaned, roasted at 160 degrees for 30 min (in a vintage roaster) and cooled and sent to the winnower to remove shells. The heavier interior nibs (the core ingredient) are ground twice; sugar is then added and the mixture is sent to the the mixer. It then passes to the refiner (to break down particles into a smooth mixture). It passes twice - the particles are now less than 20 microns in size. Then off to the conch (the most time consuming process), where two granite stones grind the mixture against a granite wall for 12 hours to remove any bitterness. Cocoa butter and lecithin are added. A tempering machine (processing at various temperatures in stages) brings it to a crystalline form. Finally, the chocolate is injected into bar molds.

The shop itself is a pleasure to visit - there is a bar where an array of hot chocolate and coffees are served. Above the bar, there is a statue of Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god of cacao. And of course, their entire selection of chocolate confections is available for purchase. Click here for more photos. A must stop for any visitor to or resident of New York City. And by the way - Happy Valentine's Day!

7 comments:

Lucy said...

Happy V day to you too Brian...

The Wellspring said...

If indeed there are health benefits to eating chocolate, then SURELY I am among the healthiest on the planet. ;)

Happy Valentines Day from Quito!

~Lisa

Chris & Deb said...

beautiful photo, and Valentine's greetings from Minnneapolis!

Susan in Hotlanta said...

How appropriate for V-Day!

Ummmm....so are you going to send some of their chocolate to your regular readers? Hint, hint ;-)

Olivier said...

Belle photo pour une saint-valentin. aujourd'hui vous avez de la chance, vous aurez l'ESB au couleur de l'amour.


Beautiful photograph for a St. Valentine's day. today you have chance, you will have the ESB with the color of the love

Merisi's Vienna For Beginners said...

I have added Jacques Torres Chocolate to "The List" for my next NY visit. If you ever come to Vienna, don't miss Demel's hot chocolate, it is a treat also.
Thank you for your beautiful blog, I stop by often to enjoy it (still smiling about the Zoomies entry).

Sarah said...

I just stumbled across your blog, and wanted to tell you that I absolutely love this photo. New York is one of my favourite places in the world and it's nice to vicariously visit it again through your photos!