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Jacques Torres: Both sophisticated and kid-friendly.

Best Chocolate Shop
Jacques Torres Chocolate
66 Water Street, Brooklyn

In his years at Le Cirque, Jacques Torres earned an international reputation for his over-the-top concoctions: stoves and pianos and ladies' hats. But just over a year ago, he left all that behind to convert a brick warehouse on the Brooklyn waterfront into a chocolate factory and become a modern-day Willy Wonka (in a hairnet). Chocoholics from near and far make pilgrimages to sample his line of dark- and milk-chocolate bonbons ($40 a pound) in flavors like pistachio-marzipan, "wildly walnuts," and Mom's chocolate-peanut-brittle -- the sort of untrendy, nostalgic confections you'd expect more from a corner candy store than from a serious French pâtissier. But serious he is: He bakes his own croissants and packages his own hot chocolate, which he also serves by the china cup -- both of which are reason enough to linger at one of the mosaic café tables occupying the small retail shop. Passion-fruit hearts and cork-shaped Taittinger truffles are geared to adult tastes, but Torres wisely stocks the shelves with kid-friendly treats as affordable as a $5 bag of chocolate-covered cornflakes or a jumbo-size $4 chocolate bar. No matter your age, you instantly become a kid in this candy store, and you almost expect to see a golden ticket when you rip off the wrapper.

Photograph by Tisa Coen.
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