Mural outside of Choco-Story New York
Loco for Cocoa? Famed chocolatier Jacques Torres has opened Choco-Story New York: The Chocolate Museum and Experience, Manhattan’s first chocolate museum, in SoHo! Visitors to the museum can learn about the “Story” of chocolate – its journey from bean to bar through original artifacts, tastings, kids’ area and even a chocolate making class. An educational (and delicious!) hands-on experience for chocolate lovers of all ages.
Jacques partnered with Eddy Van Belle, founder of four other Choco-Story museums around the world, for this venture.
Choco-Story New York
Through the 5,000 sq foot museum, Choco-Story New York traces the history of chocolate and cacao with authentic artifacts housed in display cases with informative posters and signage. The museum charts the history of chocolate, from cocoa trees in Central America to mass-produced treats, and everything in between. Along the way visitors can learn interesting facts (such as how cacao was once deemed a divine drink of the gods, and how it was consumed during human sacrifices) while viewing countless artifacts.
While interesting for chocolate enthusiasts or history buffs – this portion of the museum was not at all interesting for little ones. However, the museum had a solve for that! All children are handed “Chocola is Fun” worksheet along with stickers upon entering, and are told to locate the matching numerical stations throughout the museum. While at each information sight, children are asked to find the sticker which best illustrates the station (and if they complete it there is a prize!).
In addition to the sticker matching game, visitors can also download the Choco-Story phone app that allows them to discover four virtual 3D animations during the visit of the museum by scanning one of the posters with their phone. There are also several chocolate tasting stations along the way, all in candy dispenser machines, which was very “entertaining” for children.
A City of Chocolate
A Chocolate museum in NYC wouldn’t be complete without a skyline sculpture of our city! Beyond being a chocolate god, Jacques Torres is also the Dean of Pastry Arts at The International Culinary Center (ICC). He asked his students to create a New York City skyline made from various milk and dark chocolate pieces. The result is on display to see (and unfortunately no… you may not eat it!) More to come – the students are also creating a dark chocolate flowerbox filled with chocolate soil and handcrafted chocolate flowers.
After the artifacts, the museum has a hot cocoa stand where talented choco-storians whip up an original Mayan hot chocolate freshly ground by hand. Visitors are able to choose additional spices or ingredients, and taste the hot cocoa in its original form. The demonstration was an interesting way to see how hot cocoa was once made. However, we tried it – it was not as you would expect – quite bitter and not pleasant!
For young chocolate fans, Choco-Story New York also features a kids’ corner, a bright, educational space where children can play inside a graffiti covered subway car, dig for “undiscovered artifacts” in a sand pit and play “chocolate shop proprietor” inside a toy kitchen. There is also a photo opp where your little bean can place their head inside a stand-in scene, and a small table for kitchen role-playing.
The last portion to the museum is the tastiest. Visitors may partake in a chocolate making class where they will be able to witness, taste and help create chocolate bon-bons through a live demonstration. We watched the chocolatier create an entire tray of bonbons during our visit, using machines, molds, and more… Our little chef in the making loved the demonstration, and didn’t want to leave (or stop eating the treats!).
A Rewarding End
After the chocolate cooking demonstration, the museum ends in (the tempting) Jacques Torres chocolate café. Here children can turn in their sticker matching game for a prize – a sweet chocolate lollipop treat.
Choco-Story New York: Located within the Jacques Torres chocolate store on Hudson Street. 350 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014 and is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00am – 5:00pm
Tour Prices: Adults: $15; Student, Seniors, Military: $12; Youth (4-12 years old): $10; 0-4 years old: Free
More information about Jacques Torres and Choco-Story New York HERE