Located at 15 E 18th Street the Cocoa Store is easily the smallest chocolate shop that I’ve been in. What they lack in space, they make up in creative use of that space. The walls are lined with some of the priciest chocolate I’ve had, and the jewelry-style display case makes their limited selection of truffles feel extra special.
Cocoa Store is a “retailer of prestigious chocolate brands from around the world”, and carries primarily five chocolate brands: Amedei, Domori, Castronovo, Dick and Taylor, and Harper Macaw.
You can buy single truffles from the display case, or chocolate bars and collections from behind. I definitely recommend the miniatures collection in front of the register, in this case your best bet is to acquaint yourself with the flavors of the chocolate offered before committing to a whole bar or collection.
Out of all the chocolate shops that I’ve been to, the Cocoa Store offers the most intense (and expensive) chocolate. If you, or someone you know, are hardcore chocolate connoisseurs – the kind that know the bean location and cocoa concentration of their chocolate – then you and they will love this place. Especially dark chocolate fans.
Initially I was sort of skeptical of the prices I saw at the Cocoa Store, however a little digging proved that the chocolates offered here are the real deal – they’re boutique chocolates with a world-wide following. Amedei’s single plantation chocolate, Chuao, is considered by some very influential chocolatiers to be possibly the greatest chocolate in the world. Food & Wine’s Pete Wells wrote an excellent article on the chocolatiers here, it’s well worth reading whether or not you’re a chocolate fan.
Domori, another specialty chocolate, was founded in 1997 and are credited with restoring the cultivation of Criollo beans. In 2002, Gianluca Franzoni opened a plantation in Venezuela where he is cultivating varieties of Criollo that are on the verge of extinction.
Castronovo, owned by one of few female chocolate makers in America, Denise Castronovo, offers sustainable American craft chocolate. “Castronovo sources the cacao beans and contributes to providing an income for indigenous people who live off of the rainforest. The prestigious awards she has received, including 7 World Final International Chocolate Awards, and 8 Academy of Chocolate Awards from London are just the result of her lifelong commitment.” – Cocoa Store
Dick and Taylor source their cocoa from around the world, using only organic cocao and organic cane sugar. With options like Black Fig, 72% Maple Coconut, and a limited release Vietnam Tien Giang with tasting notes of spice cake, apricot, and almond butter, you really can’t go wrong trying at least one. Each 2oz bar runs about $8.50, and ranks as a small, affordable luxury. Plus, the packaging is absolutely beautiful.
Harper Macaw chocolates are sourced from two of Earth’s most threatened biomes – Brazil’s Atlantic and Amazon rainforests. Their mission? Turning chocolate into a force for tropical reforestation. You clearly see their inspiration in the creative and eye-catching design of their chocolates.
On my first visit I ended up spending roughly $80 on chocolates – I had a few pralines and truffles, an Amedei Toscano Red Chocolate Bar, Domori Napolitains D-Fusion Sleeve, a Single Origins Sleeve, a Domori Pret a Porter Chocolate Gift Bag, and a Criollo sleeve.
The sleeves are the best way to familiarize yourself with the varying degrees of cocoa content, bean sources and flavors, while the chocolate gift bag is great for gifting and easing yourself into the serious and intense flavors offered. The bag itself seems to be themed around hazelnuts with exception of the Rum and Chestnut ‘Cuneesi’ Pralines – which utilize chestnut cream and Agrimontana chestnuts liquor instead.
My favorite was the Amedei Toscano Red Chocolate Bar, which features a minimum of 70% cocoa content, and dried red fruit (strawberry, cherry, and raspberry). I always love the marriage of tart and sweet, and while the dark chocolate here isn’t exacting teeming with sugar, it’s still beautifully done.
After doing my little bit of
googling research into the brands sold at the Cocoa Store, I really feel much more enthusiastic about this little shop. You’d be hardpressed to find brands like Amedei elsewhere and I only know of one other place – 2beans – that carries Domori. In terms of access, the Cocoa Store is part of what makes the city so great – that we have the ability to hop on the train or bus and are able to access luxury chocolates, possibly the greatest chocolates, quite easily.
15 E 18th Street
New York, NY 10003