Exciting chocolate kingdom in NYC

Blue Stripes Cacao Shop

 It is 17:00 in the afternoon, the city is full of tourists this time of year (August), the humidity is through the roof and all I want is to relax in a good cafe, centrally located, quiet and of course…, with lots and lots of chocolate.

While conducting my extensive searches for such a place in the city, I came across to the chocolate kingdom of New York chocolate king Oded Brenner. Oded, that is both chocolatier and confectioner, is one of the founders of Max Brenner. His new place is a completely American café style that concentrates on chocolate in all its forms.

Photo by: Val Bara

As both me and Oded, grew up in Israel, knew I had to take this advantage and celebrate my fellow Israeli success in NYC. I met with Oded at his café (where else…) and we had a deep dive on coffee, chocolate, New York and especially about us as confectioners in the Big Apple.

I often hear from visitors who come to the city that they want to go to real local places, they want to experience the city through the local kitchens. I think this is a wonderful and the best way to experience and discover a new place you are visiting.  As Oded have lived in New York for 13 years now, his place is a very nice mix of the Middle Eastern palate with American cuisine and French inspiration. The place also keep true to the origin of chocolate desserts they serve, Oded serves and uses the pure form of cocoa fruit(which is the key ingredient in chocolate ) to make unique desserts and drinks.

Photo by: Em Ourstories

When you go to the cafe, if you can take your eyes from the decadent desserts, you will see a chocolate machines at the counter. A kind of homemade chocolate lab. You will notice beer taps that provide a frothy fluffy chocolate drink created by Oded. When you order a hot chocolate, you will notice a homemade grinder that was built custom made specifically for the place. This special grinder will make sure you have a very unique test to your chocolate. You can see the bartenders grinding cocoa and from the grinder to your cup. Decadent delicious hot chocolate.  

The thing I like most is that you can eat the cocoa fruit in all sorts of forms and textures. They are imported directly from Ecuador and Vietnam. This is the only cafe in the world (I've come across) that also uses the inner white shell of the cocoa fruit (see image below) to create different eatable products. Among the products in the store you can purchase a sweet chocolate peel drink in a personal bag, different muesli dishes that are made from the shell peel with coconut and dark chocolate, fruit, nuts and more. Special and tasty, definitely a must have on your list.

Photo by: Chumphon.Collective

The café offers a variety of desserts, simple and familiar to those of you that don’t like take chances and some unique and decadent desserts. Oded says he has always loved this kind of mix. He fell in love with the simplicity of a good dessert. Among the many desserts you can find a bagel filled with chocolate ganache, waffle-brioche filled with chocolate, caramel ice cream and marshmallow, cold chocolate drink with matching cake, tea cake, chocolate and fruit pancake sandwich, crunch rice chocolate and more.

Another interesting detail about one of the dishes here is the story behind it. About 20 years ago, Oded worked for Pierre hermé (one of the best French confectioners in the world). At the time, Pierre had a cake called "The Cherry on the Cake." Oded decided that his new place will feature a new a version of the cake as a Homage to Pierre’s creation and create his own version of it. Here it’s served as a tempering chocolate-coated cake, with milk chocolate ganesh with a thin layer of nuts with a cherry (of course) on top.

Photo by: Em Ourstories

Just before I was about to leave, Oded tells to me, "Wait, there's something else you H-A-V-E to taste" After a few minutes Oded cames back with a chocolate bar that in first glance looked perfectly ordinary.. and said "You must taste this! " I didn’t know if I can eat anything else, after tasted almost the entire store. Before I tasted, I asked Oded, "What's special about this chocolate?" He just smiled and said “Taste it”. I did. And it was “WOW”.  It's a super high quality chocolate with a unique texture. It goes through a special processing in which, they stop grinding the cocoa beans before they reach a smooth mass state. There are very small crunch of cocoa beans, which gives a special and interesting texture and also gives a unique flavor to chocolate. For all the confectioners who probably read this I have to explain, it's not a regular chocolate with added coca crunch. The actual raw material (that comprises the chocolate bar) is only being grounded to a certain level and not to the very end (not to a full smooth degree). That is the unique factor.
If you fancy chocolate and have a bit of adventurous side. This is totally the place for you.

Open daily from 07:00 to 23:00. If you live in the city or are looking for a quiet place to work, you can also work here, they have a nice working area designed in a coca inspiration.

Address: 28E 13th St, New York

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