Thursday, July 17, 2008

Chocolatier Jacques Torres, D.U.M.B.O. Brooklyn, NY

( All photos click to enlarge)
D.U.M.B.O. is the acronym for "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass," which is the name for this neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York.

There are three bridges that connect the northern part of Brooklyn to the island of Manhattan -- The Brooklyn Bridge, The Manhattan Bridge and The Williamsburg Bridge.

The Manhattan Bridge is seen above and below, and D.U.M.B.O. is located in this area.

This neighborhood was once a manufacturing district, housing factories and warehouses that made and stored machinery, paper boxes and Brillo soap pads, among other things.

When those businesses left the area, these buildings became primarily residential for artists and other young homesteaders, who were seeking relatively large and inexpensive loft apartment spaces for studios and homes beginning in the late 1970's.

In D.U.M.B.O. you can still see some streets with the old cobblestone that once paved all of New York's streets.

Now, many of these buildings have been renovated and converted into apartments and condos/ co-ops, many of which sell anywhere from $600,000 to millions of dollars!

Look at the rents for some of the luxury apartments in D.U.M.B.O. here!

Jacques Torres' original chocolate cafe and retail store and factory is located at 66 Water Street, Brooklyn, NY in the DUMBO neighborhood.

Walking into his store feels like stepping into a small European specialty store. The store is filled with yummy treats all hand-made by Mr. Torres, who is also known as "Mr. Chocolate."

Jacques has an extensive curriculum vitae as a pastry chef and chocolatier, which can be read on his website -- here are a few excerpts:

" Jacques Torres grew up in Bandol, France, a small town in the southern region of Provence.

In 1986, Jacques was awarded with the prestigious M.O.F. medal, the youngest chef to earn the distinction.

Jacques has served presidents, kings, and celebrities in his every day work at Le Cirque. He has also enjoyed many honors and awards, judged competitions and participated in culinary events. He has generously donated his time to many national charity organizations.

He serves as Dean of Pastry Studies at New York's French Culinary Institute. He has also opened his pastry kitchen at Le Cirque to aspiring students and shared his passion for the art of pastry. He is dedicated to providing a training ground for the future professionals of the field works diligently to further the causes of his profession.

He frequently makes television guest appearances on NBC's Today Show and Later Today, various shows on TV Food Network, and public television programs."

Here is a platter of his famous chocolate chip cookie whose recipe recently caused quite a happy stir when it was printed in the New York Times "Dining and Wine" section.

And some more decadent confections behind the counter of his shop, all hand made by Jacques

In the photo below are some of his individual assorted flavor chocolate bars for sale. We enjoy the one called "Wicked" because it has ancho chile pepper in it!

Mr. Torres makes all his own chocolate from imported beans . There are many interesting facts about chocolate in general on this portion of his website, and also some informative videos at the same link where he displays his factory, the making of chocolate, and demonstrates making holiday treats.

There is a small factory right next to this store, and it is visible through large windows from inside the store and from the street level. The DUMBO store was Mr. Torres first factory and store, but he's since opened an even larger one in Manhattan, at 350 Hudson at King Street.
At that beautiful location in Hudson Square, Jacques makes chocolate from the beans, and visitors can watch the entire process from inside that retail store, as it is completely enveloped in glass. There, Jacques uses vintage equipment that has been painstakingly restored.
Also, a brand new Jacques Torres cafe and retail shop recently opened on the upper west side of Manhattan, at 285 Amsterdam Avenue between West 73rd and 74th Streets, so I do believe the chocolate business has been very good for Jacques!

He still makes appearances in his Brooklyn factory from time to time, especially during the holidays to make his chocolate specialties and for special events. It is wise to check his web site for dates of his appearances. Below is a photo of some of his gift and specialty items for sale in his shop, including his heavenly hot chocolate mix, his famous chocolate chip cookie and fudge mix, truffles, Bon Bons, dark, milk and white chocolate bars, caramel sauce, hot fudge sauce, assorted chocolate covered items such as pretzels, malt bars, marshmallows, macadamia nuts, raisins, espresso beans, almonds, popcorn and even chocolate covered cheerios and corn flakes!

You can also order some of these same items online

Some customers at the counter ordering hot chocolate and some croissants or petit pain au chocolat, or perhaps a cookie or brownie? There are a few cafe tables by the window in which to sit and enjoy your treats, but they were all occupied during the time I was there and I didn't want to disturb the patrons by taking their photo.

Do you think we purchased this "Ultimate Sweets" selection gift box?

Very tempting, but no!

I did purchased this dark chocolate "Big Daddy" bar that weighs 2.2 pounds! I needed it for a special project that I am baking. I will be displaying that on my blog on July 30th, so please come back and see my special creation then.

Right next to the Jacque Toress factory there is a large and beautiful restored antique carousel that is being stored the first floor of a warehouse.

The doors were opened the day I was there, as apparently there was a photo shoot of the model seen here.
This 1922 carousel was purchased in 1984 in an auction by artist Jane Walentas, and she spent 22 years painstakingly restoring it to its original condition!

You can watch a wonderful segment about this carousel and the dedication of the artist who restored it, and also some general carousel history from the CBS TV Sunday Morning Show at this Youtube link. It's well worth taking the time to view if you love carousels as much as I do!

Now, back to my baking .... where did I put that Big Daddy bar?


Tracy said...

mmm...loved this post in search of CHOCOLATE! Delicious...I feel so hungry all of a sudden--LOL! And that carousel is a amazing--how lovely it must look lit-up at night. Thanks for stopping by--always a treat to hear from you! Happy weekend ahead to you & yours ((HUGS))

Unknown said...

Thank you for very interesting post.. favourite food:)
The bridges, some I have seen from our cruise ship NCL GEM leaving New York.
-Cheers from Canada.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the information and interesting posts! There is so much to see and do there...guess you never run out of blogging ideas!

You have given me a blogging idea...we have a historical carousel in our town, and I'll have to take the grandkids soon with the camera in tow of course!

For now, I'm off to search the cabinets for a drop of chocolate!

Betsy Brock said...

That chocolate shop looks wonderful....I could spend a long time browsing in there! And a chocolate called wicked just has to be divine! LOL. Spencer is here looking over my shoulder...immediately interested in the trolley tracks and bridges! :)

Tess Kincaid said...

Okay, you can send one of those Big Daddy Bars, FedEx, over to Willow Manor!! ASAP! :)

Kim said...

I watched this story about the carousel history from the CBS TV Sunday Morning Show. I thought to myself, now this is a dedicated woman with much passion! It is a beautiful work of art made new again. Thanks for sharing the "sweets" I am in desperate need of only the best chocolate and there isn't a scrap in the house! Sigh. :) I am learning so much from your postings.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post Pat- history and horses not to mention chocolate all in one! Those carousel horses look wonderful. That really was a job of the heart to have spent 22 years restoring them. Beautiful!

Tara said...

Another great visit--I got to drool over chocolate and not gain an ounce!

Anonymous said...

I wonder what you might be baking with that large chocolate bar??? YUM! Can't wait to see the recipe!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Tracy --glad you enjoyed it

guild-rez -- I took a special cruise up your way once :-)

Diane --I'd LOVE to see your carousel! The antique ones are such magnificent works of art!

Betsy -- wicked chocolate is wicked good :-)

Willow -- too hot to mail one now --you'd have a chocolate puddle at your!

Kim and Melanie --I'm glad you saw that carousel video --she did an amazing job restoring it. I really do hope they can resolve the issues preventing it from being installed in the new park so that all can enjoy it.

Tara -- lol!

Cucina -- I didn't have to use all 2.2 pounds, but it made sense to buy the BIG bar and have it for future use :-) Come back July 30 and you'll see why I ahve to wait until then to show you what I made.

Kat Mortensen said...

Pat, Thanks for visiting Poetikat's. I really appreciate your comments.

I am adding you to my blog list immediately! What a beautiful space to come and visit, soak in the strains of Morricone, view, mouth agog, the gorgeous confections and chocolate!

And, as if that were not enough of a draw - you have cats and dogs as well!

Your Bo is certainly a handsome fellow. Our Blanche, would stand like the queen she is next to his regal self. (the one in the greenery photo is not mine, but you can see my 4 here:

I shall return!


Just A Girl said...

Oooohhhh! This looks like my kind of store! I hope you're having a wonderful summer Pat. I too am so busy that I haven't been making my usual rounds and feel like I'm missing so much.
See you soon,
:) Cori

katylinvw said...

mmmmm. . . my mouth is absolutely watering! gotta add that to my tourist list for the next time we're in the city!!! :)

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

poetikat --thanks and welcome! That was a fun quiz to try under your adorable cats photo collage --my cat is Mick Jagger too! :-)
I love all your kitties -- they are so huggable!

Cori --I know it's harder to be on the computer in summer -- enjoy, and drop by as often as possible!

Katy Lin --Jacques has three cafes and stores now, so you have more choice.

Anonymous said...

Pat (I just said that with three syllables), I should have never looked at this post.

Why? Because it is 4:52 p.m., and I haven't had anything to eat yet! My face is all scrunched up now, and I am whining for a chocolate chip cookie.

I must have one before I ride on the carousel.

PAT said...

J has a Knight's of Columbus meeting this evening which includes a meal. I had a solitary early supper of strawberries and real whipped cream, I whipped up, for the occasion. I thought my meal was superb until I read this post. Wish I had just a little bit of something mentioned in this post. That chocolate chip cookie, looks like it would be something to try. I am now going to have to click on that link!

Have a great rest of the week.

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

Pat, it always blows my mind that you guys have so many cool things to see. The chamber of commerce should put you on the payroll. You sure make me want to go to New York. Chocolate. It just dances in your mouth. That store looks incredible. Yummy!

Alexandra MacVean said...

oh my...look at all those goodies to eat!! Some day soon I'll be able to eat those things again. :)

I also love the old cobblestone. I wish there was beauty and architecture like that around here.

Kathy said...

Pat. I really like DUMBO and I really like Mr Torres and I KNOW I am going to REALLY LIKE your special project :O)

My favourite painting that we own is called Carousel by an English painter Paula McArdle, you may have heard of her Pat, the following web-site did a feature on her, it is an interesting read, that I think you wll enjoy, after seeing yesterday's post on "aliceinparis".

We call our painting the rat-race as it depicts bowler hatted gentlemen going around and around on a carousel, while their briefcases and packed lunches lay idly by. I cannot find our exact print on this web-site so I have taken a photo of it and left it on my side bar for you. hugs, Kathy.

steviewren said...

I am intrigued by your hint at what you are baking...what can it there a special occasion coming up?

The chocolate shop sounds like a piece of heaven...mmmmmm.

I checked out the blog you mentioned. Meridian is about 5 hours from here I would suppose. Their art museum looks like it is very supportive of local artists. That makes it very accessible. If I am every over their way I will be sure to visit it.

Just A Girl said...

Hi Pat,
I tagged you on my blog for one of those 6 things memes. It's always fun finding out new facts...
Let me know if you want to play.
:) Cori

Donna said...

Mmmmm, chocolate, cookies, croissants, and more chocolate. I'm in heaven!

Interesting area. Thanks for the tour!


Anonymous said...

Pat, I do believe your posts just get better and better! This one was superb! I already copied the cookie recipe and can hardly wait until you find that "Big Daddy" bar and see what you create with it!

I finally passed along the wonderful award you presented to me--on my latest post.

Have a great weekend!

Are you going to see Mamma Mia? My buddy just e-mailed me to say we have our tickets reserved at a theater for tomorrow---I'm SO excited! I fell in love with it when a Broadway production came to KC and my daughter and I had front row seats to a performance!

Unknown said...

Hello Pat :P
oh got to go there one day!! And those chocolate..awwww...thanks to you, i've got to find my kit kats now (fastest I can find for my choc kicks), and there goes my die for today :(

I was jumping for joy cos...I received this wonderful post card from New York!! yahoo :D just lovely and tks for taking the effort and hope your envelope arrive you by next friday latest, otherwise, give me a tinkle :) Happy weekend to you and hugs always :)

Kathy said...

Pat I just read your NYT article on Matt Harding Dancing his way around the world, how cool, loved the youtube clips. Kathy.

Gina said...

Its just as well there is no chocolate is the house Pat!!
Looks amazing..and I've bookmarked the recipe! Looking forward to seeing what you make with the dark choc!
The carousel is incredible..nicely captured! Have a great weekend Gxox

Gina said...

Its just as well there is no chocolate is the house Pat!!
Looks amazing..and I've bookmarked the recipe! Looking forward to seeing what you make with the dark choc!
The carousel is incredible..nicely captured! Have a great weekend Gxox

Mrs. B said...

Hi Pat! Yummmm! Chocolate! I'd love to visit that shop when I someday make my way to NYC. Thanks so much for telling us about this gem. And I love the name of the neighborhood--DUMBO. I also love old carousels, and that one looks beautiful! Can't wait to see what you do with the chocolate!

Mrs. B said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mrs. B said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mrs. B said...

I have no idea why that appeared 3 times! Sorry!

Strider said...

Nice post. I enjoy the tours you take us through.

Marina Capano said...

Hi! How are you! what nice post! the building are so nice, In argentina there are some buildings in Puerto Madero like these! Are so cute!
visit me anytime...

Vee said...

Ohhhh, that shop would be dangerous...very...for me! Hope that you'll share your baking with us.

Junie Moon said...

What a fun (and tasty) post. I'm trying not to eat any sweets at all this week and here I am reading and drooling over the idea of chocolate. Well, I will consider your post as my sweet treat for the week.

Lavinia said...

Dean of Pastry Studies? Now there's a job a gal could get used to!

Joanne Kennedy said...

YUM! I have always wanted to try Jacques chocolate. When I see his work on TV I always say "Someday I'm going to make it to his shop and try everything!". Well thanks to you my dear, I can now order some of his chocolate. Thanks.

I love that carousel. For some reason I've always loved them and the older and more detailed the better. There is something so nostalgic and romantic about them.


Edie Marie's Attic said...

Hi Pat!
Ok this is going on my list of places to visit when I finally get to NYC! It must be an incredible experience to step into that Chocolatier and take in the aroma... I can feel the lbs attaching to my hips just thinking of it!
Oh when I get to NYC you have to set aside some time to meet me and my DIL Chris and have some food and fun!
It's my dream to get there!
Hugs, SHerry