NYC tours and classes for chocolate lovers
The end of the year is usually characterized by extreme indulgence, whether you're maximizing time with loved ones, exercising your penchant for retail, devouring a table's worth of decadent goodies, or drinking too much eggnog. Instead of wrapping up the holidays, extend that festive feeling a little longer with everyone's favorite sweet -- chocolate. These five chocolate therapies, from walks to classes, will keep the season's best indulgence at a premium.
1. LUXURY CHOCOLATE
WHAT What began five years ago as an online magazine (chocolatezoom.com) has become one of the city's most popular walking tours. Offered in various neighborhoods, Chocolate Zoom's most sought-after offering is the Luxury Chocolate Tour that visits five European chocolatiers on the Upper East Side, such as Debauve & Gallais and La Maison du Chocolat.
WHEN Thursdays through Sundays at noon. Tours last two to three hours.
INFO $70, 212-209-3370, sweetwalks.com
2. CUSTOM TOURS
WHAT Alexandra Leaf, a chocolate tour guide for the 92nd Street Y, offers chocoholics customized versions of those tours at Chocolate Tours of NYC. A culinary historian and author, Leaf takes groups from 6 to 60 on visits to famous chocolatiers like Jacques Torres, where the Ménage a Trois bonbon is a favorite, and Kee's Chocolate, where she recommends the one-bite Creme Brûlée.
WHEN By request. Tours run three hours.
INFO Prices start at $80 per person (with discounts for kids), chocolatetoursnyc.com
3. CHOCOLATE, DESSERT & WINE
WHAT Crave more than chocolate? If so, the Chocolate, Dessert & Wine Tour of the Upper West Side is for you. Guests taste truffles and bonbons, fresh baked cookies and pastries, and gelato, all paired with fine wines from around the world. A recent tour included trendy Pour wine shop, beloved Levain Bakery and Italian cafe and gelateria, Bombolini.
WHEN | WHERE Sundays, 2:30 to 5 p.m. (Tour resumes Jan. 8.) Meet on West 72nd Street and Broadway.
INFO $56.50, 212-535-8687, cityfoodtours.com
4. FACTORY TOUR
WHAT Head to trendy Williamsburg where Mast Brothers Chocolate offers behind-the-scenes factory tours explaining how you get a craft chocolate bar from a simple cacao bean. Learn about roasting, cracking, winnowing, conching and tempering -- processes essential to creating perfect chocolate -- then taste the finished product.
WHEN | WHERE Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 4:30 p.m. 111A N. Third St., Brooklyn
INFO $9.99, 718-388-2625, mastbrothers.com
5. CHOCOLATE CLASS
WHAT It's time to create your own chocolate. Sign up at the Institute of Culinary Education, which offers a slate of classes and hands-on instruction for making everything from chocolate cakes to brownies to truffles. The Truffles class is the most popular, though it tends to sell out quickly. If you get shut out, try for the equally delicious Chocolate Galore workshop.
WHEN | WHERE Class times vary. 50 W. 23rd St., between Fifth and Sixth avenues
INFO $110, 800-522-4610, iceculinary.com