The specific promotions described in this article have now passed, but it remains online so that the resources named will be of future use to travelers.
Alright, all you Charlie Buckets out there eager for a discount to the 11th Annual New York Chocolate Show (this weekend from November 7-9; www.chocolateshow.com): We think we've come up with a nice Golden Ticket this year.
We contacted the show organizers and were able to get a 40% discount off the Friday show, from 4pm to 8pm only. Adults will pay only $17 instead of $28. We were unable to get a Ticketmaster.com discount code, though the organizers note there are others out there, so you might Google for them -- though, as they noted, you'll pay a surcharge to buy tickets online, so this on-site discount is the best deal.
We also contacted a few of our favorite chocolate brands, and they agreed to give Frommers.com readers a nice discount if you stop by their booth. See below for details. This all requires you to print out this article and use it as a coupon at the show. No printout, no discount, they insist.
Chocolate Show Details
The big change for this year's show is a switch of venue, now Pier 94, at 711 12th Ave. and 55th St. (That's 55,000 sq. ft. of chocolate and 35% more space than the previous location.)
The show is held Friday through Sunday, from 10am to 8pm (to 7pm on Sunday), and tickets are $28 for adults ($17 on Friday night from 4 to 8pm with a printout of this article); free for children under 5, and free for up to 2 children aged 5 to 12 (pay $8 for each additional child, or $5 with this coupon on Friday night). Tickets are available at the show, or order through Ticketmaster.com or tel. 212/307-7171.Â
The show itself is the American outpost of Paris' Salon du Chocolat (www.chocolateshowfr.com) and will once again offer more than 65 booths of International chocolate brands. Booths generally have quarter-sized samples, plus treats for sale, and you'll find every type of chocolate you can imagine, including milk, dark, raspberry-flavored, banana-flavored, curry-flavored, organic, vegan, fig-filled, pretzel dipped, you name it -- even chocolate filled with Pop Rocks-style candy. Also watch for nearly 40 cooking demos from some of the world's top pastry chefs, plus a scattering of all-things-chocolate throughout the show: chocolate cocktails, chocolate-infused oil paintings, chocolate sculptures and boxes, and a few cocoa butter-infused facial creams and chocolate-blackberry massages in the mix. If your kids pick up on this idea that actually digesting chocolate is boring, they can make some chocolate crafts in the Kid Zone $1 to $5).
The conceptual creativity peaks at the November 6 Chocolate Fashion Show ($250 tax deductible towards Susan G. Komen for the Cure; www.komennyc.org), which is taking a cue from Project Runway this year and giving designers a theme: "Superheroes." All the chocolate capes and marshmallow-coated wrist cuffs will be displayed on mannequins throughout the festival, so you won't miss them.
Another fashionable event is the World Chocolate Masters competition, which has a "Haute Couture" theme this year. Only the Awards Ceremony will be at the show, at 5pm on Sunday, November 9. The competition will be held earlier that day at the French Culinary Institute, 462 Broadway at Grand Street, from 6:30am to 4pm, and you must RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to watch.
Overall, the show makes for an enjoyable evening or afternoon of chocolate noshing and gift-buying, with a high potential for a giddy tryptophan buzz by the end. The new venue should be a nice change of pace for a show that has fallen into a bit of a predictable pattern in recent years. It's also encouraging to hear that more than 15 brands will be new to the show, including a few more French and Italian companies. The newbies have no doubt read the New Yorker's 2007 profile of Dagoba (www.dagobachocolate.com), the organic brand that debuted at the 2006 show and then sold to Hershey's for $17 million. Will this year produce another breakout star -- or just some customers with breakouts? Will the Italian brand Compagnia Del Cioccolato (www.coccolato.it) get American distribution? Is organic chocolate still a profitable trend? Will this be white chocolate's year?
Our Favorite Booths -- With Discounts
Okay, less questions, more chocolate. Here is your virtual coupon to bring to the show. Note: To acquire these discounts we first made a list of our favorite brands then contacted them about a discount (not vice versa). Their participation in this "coupon" did not affect their write-up or inclusion in this article.
- We're big fans of Philadelphia-based John & Kira's Chocolates (www.johnandkiras.com), who pair Valrhona chocolate with organic and family-farmed ingredients, including "Papohaku Farm Ginger," "Eagle Ranch Pistachio," and incredibly fresh and pungent "Drew Elementary Garden Mint." Their delicious chocolate-covered figs and fig-filled pumpkins make for decadent, if pricey, gifts. Both combine chocolate with Spanish calabacita figs and whiskey, and run at about $36 for 12 pieces. Discount: Get up to 15% off of their signature line with this article; a $12 box (6 pieces) will now be $10, a $30 box (15 pieces) will now be $25, etc.
- E. Guittard (www.guittard.com), started by a Frenchman in California in 1868, is a great place to buy some chocolate for baking. You'll get a preview of the chocolate in action if you watch any of the show's demos -- most chefs tend to use their 61% cacao or 72% cacao chips. Go for the 5kg (11 lb.) box; normally $115, it's a steal here for $60, or even better... Discount: Pay just $50 for the 5kg boxes with this coupon. They will also give you a free 2 oz. bar if you spend more than $10.
- For refined chocolates in tasteful, colorful packaging, Pralus (www.chocolats-pralus.com) is our favorite returning French brand. For a gift splurge, try the Pyramides, 10 bars individually wrapped, ribboned, and stacked like presents ($45, 1.1 lbs total). The Pyramides des Tropiques includes bars labeled by origin (Trinidad, Venezuela, Ghana, Madagascar, etc.). The website also offers this curious morsel: "François Pralus is one of the rare chocolate-makers (only three exist in France!) whose belief in the Aztec God Quetzalcoatl inspired the creation of his own chocolate." Discount: Get 15% off all purchases with this coupon.
- We haven't tasted enough of Chuao (www.chuaochocolatier.com) to officially declare them a "favorite," but their new Pop Rocks-style Firecracker bar puts this booth on our must-visit list. Their website describes Firecracker as "a chipotle caramel fudge truffle with popping candy, a hint of salt, and dark chocolate." (Try it, then start your own urban legend about the side effects!) Chuao is a Venezuelan company now based in San Diego and is otherwise known for their spicy hot chocolates and Chocopod bon bons. Discount: Free box of 6 filled ChocoPods with the purchase of a 12oz hot chocolate tin of any flavor, while supplies last.
- Peanut Butter & Co. (www.ilovepeanutbutter.com) started as a Greenwich Village sandwich shop in 1998 and now retail their peanut butters in over 10,000 food stores nationwide. Try all the flavors; everyone seems to latch onto a different one. (We'll take Cinnamon Raisin Swirl with just a spoon, thanks.) If you're sticking to the chocolate theme, try White Chocolate Wonderful or Dark Chocolate Dreams (all $5 to $6). Discount: One free brownie with the purchase of any jar of peanut butter while supplies last. One brownie per coupon only.
More Favorites, No Discounts
- Best deal of the show: A small Brooklyn company called Gold Star Chocolate (www.goldstarchocolate.com) offers a great price on one of the show's best truffles: $12 for 2 large boxes of the rich, buttery Cemoi Truffes Fantasie, each coated in cocoa powder. We buy several boxes each year. A few other booths have similar truffles and packaging, but we like these the best. (Note we were unable to confirm their pricing for this year's show.)
- The franchise of renowned pastry chef Jacques Torres (www.jacquestorres.com) is consistently good, if a bit basic compared to his more elaborate dessert creations. Stock up on chocolate bars ($4), chocolate-covered pretzels ($10 for 8 oz.), and hazelnut/pistachio/almond bark ($10 per 1/2 lb.). White Chocolate Election Lollipops may also be on hand ($5). For fancier fare you'll have to catch Torres at his cooking demo on Saturday at 4pm in the Viking stage area.
- You might not guess that the show's freshest chocolates would come from a Japanese company, but Mary's Chocolates (www.mary.co.jp) flies chefs from Tokyo to make and sell various treats right in front of you at the show. Exquisite, almost regal bon bons are flavored with green tea powder, sesame seeds, and more ($3 for most truffles). Mary, we kindly request a shop in America (or at least an "English" tab on your website).
Enjoy this year's show? Disappointed your favorite brand wasn't there? Encounter any problems getting the discount deals? Leave your feedback -- and any illicitly obtained recipes for the Everlasting Gobstopper -- on our Chocolate Show discussion page.
Call tel. 866/CHOC-NYC or log onto www.chocolateshow.com. Visit www.salonduchocolat.fr for more information on the Salon du Chocolat in Paris (October), Tokyo (January), Beijing (June), and Moscow (December).