Brooklyn's new chocolate schools and factories offer everything from tours with tastings to hands-on courses.
Brooklyn is not exactly lacking in fantastic outlets to taste great chocolate (and in many cases, get your hands dirty making your own). But in the past few months, the borough has seen an influx of new chocolate-centric spaces, from Jacques Torres's 400,000-square-foot factory to mega-brand Valrhona's first US chocolate academy. Here are three spots to put at the top of your pastry pilgrimage.
Valrhona L'École du Grand Chocolat
At the first stateside outpost of Valrhona's famed chocolate education center, which opened recently in Downtown Brooklyn, professional chefs and sweets-obsessed amateurs can learn the finer points of working not just with cocoa products but all kinds of pastry. Professional classes are taught by modern baking luminaries like William Werner of Craftsman and Wolves (the mastermind behind the Rebel Within muffin), while consumer classes include options like American Candy Classics taught by Jen King from Liddabit Sweets (creator of cult-favorite beer and pretzel caramels), taking place on June 20th.
Jacques Torres Factory
Though technically you can only tour the perpetually cheerful chocolate maker's massive new factory in a reclaimed Army facility, it's huge news for chocolate lovers. The facilities include an entire room dedicated to housing chocolate powder and a massive melter that can warm 5 tons of chocolate at once.
Raw bean-to-bar makers Raaka also opened the doors to their new factory in Red Hook last September and now hosts tours and classes. Since the brand's process doesn't include a roasting step, students can grind beans to create their own bars over the course of a two-hour session.