Chocolate maker moving

Death by chocolate
Bean there: Legendary DUMBO chocolatier Jacques Torres is fighting for his turf in a cookbook battle against two upstarts from Baked in Red Hook.

Parting is such sweet sorrow – especially when it’s Jacques Torres who’s leaving.

On Feb. 1 the famed chocolatier began moving the bulk of its manufacturing operation from DUMBO and SoHo to a massive complex in Sunset Park’s Brooklyn Army Terminal. Though Torres plans to maintain his retail storefront in DUMBO, most of the chocolate he sells there will no longer be made on the premises.

Neighbors getting nostalgic about the erstwhile aroma of melting chocolate over DUMBO’s streets can take some solace in Torres’s plans for his old workspace. Brianne Perea, a spokeswoman for the busy candyman, says there are no plans at the moment to leave the DUMBO location. Instead, Torres is plotting to renovate and expand the retail space into the former factory. “While no formal layout has been created, he foresees more cafe-style seating,” Perea said.

But it’s undoubtedly the end of an era for DUMBO. Torres opened his first chocolate factory there in 2000, back when the neighborhood could still plausibly be called “up-and-coming.” Then, Torres constructed the factory himself – by hand. More than a decade later, Torres has a Wonka-like chocolate empire, with four retail locations across New York.

Whether or not Sunset Park eventually echoes DUMBO’s revitalization, Torres is expecting crowds: the new factory will include rooms devoted to ice cream and chocolate powder, a five-ton melter, and tours open to the public. Construction should be completed by late summer.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at jlutz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.

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