Traverse City: A chocoholic’s dream
Update: Jacques Torres is closed in Traverse City. Items will still be available for purchase through jacquestorres.com, or at any of its New York stores.
For years, Traverse City has been known as the “Cherry Capital of the World.” But one look downtown, and you’ll see more stores that cater to chocolate than cherries.
Recently, I had the opportunity to travel up north to visit my parents. They had already become fans of Jacques Torres, a chocolate outlet born in New York. One bite of their dark chocolate chips, and I promised myself I would visit to see what all this chocoholicness was about.
As soon as I entered the store, the scent hit me — chocolate. And there was lots of it. I, along with two of my friends, ordered a warm chocolate chip cookie, a chocolate croissant and a “wicked” frozen hot chocolate to split between us.
What is so wicked about hot chocolate? We wondered the same thing. When we asked, we were told it was a blend of about 20 different “secret spices;” some of which were allspice, cinnamon, ground, sweet ancho chili peppers and smoked, ground chipoltle chili peppers. I had no idea what to expect when I got the drink, but it looked nice and cold, and it certainly was. It’s basically a frozen hot chocolate pumped up a few notches, with a nice kick at the end of it because of all the spices.
To my surprise, Jacques Torres also sells its hot chocolate (which is made with real chocolate, not cocoa powder) in tins to purchase. I’ve already added that to my Christmas list.
The cookie and croissant were equally fabulous, and were filled with lots of gooey chocolate. The chewy cookie was a great complement with the flaky croissant. I have to say that both treats were the best I’ve ever had.
I was in Chocolate Heaven, and I felt myself craving even more. In addition to the three menu items that I tried, Jacques Torres features different types of coffees, truffles, and fruit — all covered in chocolate. You’ll even find things like chocolate-covered marshmallows and Cheerios.
Jacques Torres provided a perfect opportunity for me to enjoy some great chocolate treats, and at the same time, relax with friends in a modern lounge setting.
In addition to Jacques Torres, the downtown area has had several new chocolate eateries crop up in recent years. Here’s a few other places to get your chocolate fix at while you’re visiting:
- The Chocolate Den, 324 E. Front Street – Small, but decadent chocolate treats just as you enter downtown.
- Kilwin’s, 129 E. Front Street – Yes, the Chocolate chain we all know and love. You can see them make fresh fudge in their window daily.
- Morsels, 104 Cass Street – Features great bite-sized chocolate and bakery treats. Also has great coffee and tea from Intelligensia, which can be enjoyed both inside and on an outdoor patio.
- Phil’s on Front, 236 E. Front Street – Former Windows chef is back in the kitchen. Serves as both a mainstream restaurant and chocolate lounge, both of which fit the downtown atmosphere perfectly.
- Chocolate Exotica, 525 W. Front Street – Serves as the Windows Catering business, which complements Phil’s on Front.
Having tried many of these chocolate places, I still think Jacques Torres outranks them all. If you’re going after a Chocolate fix, Jacques Torres has what you’re looking for.Jacques Torres ( Rating: out of 5 )
Where: 225 E. Front Street, Traverse City
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday
Ambiance: Casual lounge
How much will it cost you: Most chocolate snacks are no more than $5.
Credit cards: All major
Contact: (231) 929-7100