So I finally got around to going to one of the Vere Chocolate's Factory Days. After walking through the wholesale district and nearly getting lost, I came to the building where Vere is located. You might mistake it for an office building or wholesale storefront, but when you take the elevator upstairs to the factory you are greeted by lime green walls and pictures of chocolate dust. The store feels very upscale and the factory itself is very clean and shiny.
I buzzed the doorbell, maybe too impatiently and I a woman came out from the back of the factory. It turned out to be the head chef, Erika Erskine. She's in charge of designing recipes for the chocolates, and I have to bow down to her because this chocolate is incredible. And all of this is after going into this being very skeptical about "healthy chocolate." But they brought me around to their way of thinking because their chocolate tastes so good. We ended up talking shop about chocolate. She was so nice and walked me through their free samples. She also gave me a bunch of free things to take with me, like little bars of their chocolates and a set of mint & nibs brownies. I really recommend going to one of their Factory Days and trying out what they have.
Some things I learned about their chocolates:
-They only use dark chocolate only because of the high sugar content of milk chocolate. The true benefits of chocolate comes from chocolate with high cocoa content (Ie 70% and above)
-They use arriba beans from Ecuador. Their organic bars are made in Ecuador and brought here. The rest of the chocolates are made in their factory.
-They have a series of chocolates that are "diabetic friendly." Unlike other "sugar free" chocolates, they don't use sugar alcohols and other sweeteners that can be unhealthy for you
The most important thing, though is that their chocolate tastes great. I went home and ate chocolate all night, making notes of course. Granted you're supposed to taste chocolate in the morning when your palate is fresh, but I couldn't wait.
Some notes from my tasting.
-My favorite bar of chocolate was their mint and nibs bar. The mint tasted cool and popped out at you like a peppermint candy. Unlike other mint chocolates the mint doesn't get lost in the dark chocolate.
-Each caramel in the purist box kept getting better. My favorites were the lavender and rose caramels. The flavors are not overpowering and blend very well with the caramels. These give Vosges' caramels a run for the money.
-The crispy coconut clusters I got reminded me of the chocolate covered cornflakes from Jaques Torres, only what they should taste like. I only wish they were a little smaller and not so crumbly.
Vere chocolate ranks up there on my new favorite chocolates list. I really like their clean polished image and delicious dark chocolates. I secretly wish they'd make a milk chocolate version of their caramel box, but hey I'll take what I can get.
Their factory is located at 12 W. 27th street (6th floor). Factory days are M-Th 12pm-5pm and Fri 12-6pm.