“Life is all about pleasure and happiness we find in food, art and beauty.” -Maribel Liebermann
BEFORE I flew to New York a fortnight ago, New York fashion stylist Marlon Covera, who was briefly visiting, joined me at The Chocolate Chamber and enjoyed a “tablea” experience hosted by Cebu’s Chocolate Queen Raquel Choa. Marlon then excitedly told me that he would like to bring me to MarieBelle of New York, a gourmet chocolate boutique he loves.
So one sunny afternoon after landing in The Big Apple, my daughter Patricia and I joined our friend Marlon for another chocolate experience at MarieBelle of New York located in SOHO, a trendy upscale neighborhood in lower Manhattan.
MarieBelle is all about fine artisan bean to designer chocolates by Maribel Liebermann whose passion for chocolates started when as an eight-year-old she made sugar candies and sold them in her native Honduras.
She made her fortune in New York that started at Parsons School of Design where her love for fashion would take her on a jaunt in the sophisticated fashion industry catering followed by five years of running her elegant catering company, Maribel’s Gourmet Cuisine, that led to her discovery of chocolate as a life-long passion.
MarieBelle is one of the fastest growing private companies in America.
Stepping into MarieBelle New York means indulging the senses not only in chocolates but also in the rich, European-style of sophistication with the elegant chandelier-topped ceiling, paintings, and antique decors.
The famous chocolate collection in exquisite packaging was a delight to behold. The artfully handcrafted signature chocolate ganache treats are gastronomic works of art.
Behind the retail store is Cacao Bar and Tea Salon where the likes of New Yorkers like our friend Marlon finds perfect quiet respite from the bustling day, offering a menu of light fare, sweets and pastries with rejuvenating beverages.
Huge glass containers of rich varieties of chocolate powder occupied a counter: Aztec, Spicy, Dark, and Maya. Our food attendant, Johnny, served tiny cups of Aztec and Spicy hot chocolate, both European and American style for tasting. European style is very thick decadent mixed with water while American style is rich mixed with milk. Aztec is made from 65 percent South American single pure origin chocolate while Spicy has chipotle and ancho chilis.
For a mid-afternoon light fare, Marlon and I had Crepe of Smoked Norwegian Salmon while Patricia enjoyed Grilled Chicken Sandwich. Marlon introduced us to a few of the handcrafted Signature Chocolate Ganache like the Forest or Lavender infused dark chocolate, Ms. New Yorker or Espresso dark chocolate with 100 percent Arabica beans, MarieBelle or Mint white chocolate ganache infused with fresh mint leaves covered in 65 percent Venezuelan Maracabo chocolate and more.
Each little bar with artwork has a story that goes with the design. My eyes feasted on the tempting dessert display and singled out Decadence—64 percent dark chocolate mousse, grue de cacao, cacao nibs, and flourless chocolate cake; Raspberry Tart—almond tart shell with pastry cream and fresh raspberries; and Raspberry Mousse.