10 Best Artisanal Treats to Try in New York City Slideshow
January 22, 2013
Chocolate at Jacques Torres
Jacques Torres is such an expert at his craft he’s called Mr. Chocolate. After an apprenticeship and prestigious job in France, he served as a pastry chef at the famed Ritz-Carlton and Le Cirque in New York City before opening his first factory, which is still open, in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood. In Manhattan, visit the Hudson Street location of Jacques Torres Chocolate, where you can view natural chocolate made from scratch and watch its journey along the conveyor belts and vintage machines. From cleverly named chocolate bon bons and rich hot chocolate to creamy ice cream, choosing which treats to try may be tough.
Popcorn at Pop Karma
This Lower East Side gem serves six flavors of organic, gluten-free popcorn void of preservatives or additives. Chef Stephane Lemagnen studied in Paris before setting up shop in New York City, opening the now closed Room 4 Dessert, and founding ZenCanCook.com. His vegan Classic Mediterranean (organic extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt), vegetarian Zen Cheddar (made with white Cheddar), and Pure Caramel (made with brown sugar) varieties are available year-round and are complemented by three rotating seasonal options at Pop Karma. Free samples are always available and tins for purchase make great gifts.
Jam at The Jam Stand
\After years of baking, best friends Sabrina Valle and Jessica Quon decided to spread their love of mixing local, fresh ingredients together and introduce Brooklyn to artisanal jams, spreads, and chutneys at The Jam Stand. Now available all over the Tri-State area, you can find their creations made from fresh, locally sourced fruit at gourmet grocers like Dean & Deluca in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Try the Drunken Monkey Jam (sugar-coated bananas, a splash of rum, and a dash of lime) and the Razzy Gabby & a Side of Jalapeño Jam, a mix of sweet raspberry and spicy jalapeño.
Wine at City Winery
Manhattan’s City Winery offers tastings of 11 varieties on tap right from the barrels. Tasting on-site is as fresh as it gets and winemaker Michael Dorf’s methods are sustainable and free of preservatives or sulfites. Make a reservation for the 40-seat Barrel Room in advance or pair the wine with food and live music in the main venue. Tours with a three-wine tasting are offered every day for $35.
Cheese at Murray’s Cheese Bar
A Greenwich Village staple since 1940, Murray’s Cheese Bar’s owners have sourced artisan cheeses from all over America and Europe for decades. Current owner Rob Kaufelt debuted the Cheese Bar in 2012, where patrons can now sample varied cheese plates with domestic and imported cheeses like Nettle Meadow Kunik, a pasteurized goat and cow cheese from New York, Tomme Vaudoise, a creamy, soft, and buttery raw cow cheese from Switzerland, and cheesy menu items like mac and cheese, made with Cheddar and Scharfe Maxx and topped with crispy fried onions, and Murray’s Melts, grilled cheese sandwiches served with smoky tomato or citrus carrot soup. Pair these cheesy delights with wines, craft beers, or ciders.
Beer at Top Hops
Former Anheuser-Busch executive Ted Kenny now spends his time trying new craft brews with fellow beer enthusiasts at his own tasting bar, Top Hops. Explore a whopping 700 beers and sample the 20 on tap with flights of two or four beers at a time at the Orchard Street shop. Sample any of the other 680 by the bottle and take home your favorite in a reusable growler.
Coffee at Irving Farm Coffee Roasters
Irving Farm roasts its own coffee on a former farm in the Hudson Valley that the company transformed into a roasting plant in 1999. The varied blends from East Africa, Latin America, and the South Pacific are produced in small batches. Visit the shop at 71 Irving Place in Manhattan to sip and savor pour overs, cappuccinos, and espressos or indulge in occasional free tastings.
Cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery
An early favorite in the cupcake trend thanks to its mention on Sex and the City, Magnolia Bakery is the West Village home of these iconic handmade baked goods topped in a classic pastel color palette and decorated with hand-colored sprinkles (they also sell muffins, brownies, and cookies). Try one of 20 signature cupcakes like the Hummingbird (a banana, pineapple, and pecan cake with sweet cream cheese icing, topped with toasted pecans), which were included in our list of the 50 Best Cupcakes in America.
Donuts at Doughnut Plant
Mark Israel began making donuts from the basement of a tenement building on the Lower East Side in 1994. Using his grandfather’s recipe, he made donuts all night and delivered them each morning on his bike to Dean & Deluca, Balducci’s, and other shops in Manhattan. Over the years, his donuts, known for incorporating seasonal fruit and roasted nuts in the glazes, gained a following and Doughnut Plant opened a bakery in 2000 on Grand Street (there’s a second location in Chelsea, too). More than a dozen variations of cake, yeast, and filled-donuts are made daily with all-natural ingredients free of preservatives or artificial flavors. Try the jelly-filled square donuts and the doughseeds (filled mini donuts), which include flavors like pistachio, matcha green tea, and vanilla bean glaze with blackberry filling.
Bread at Amy’s Bread
Amy Scherber left a marketing career to study baking in New York and France before establishing Amy’s Bread, where traditional European baking methods, including hand-shaping each loaf, are employed daily to make French baguettes, country sourdough, whole-wheat, rye, and other varieties. View the bread-making process at the Chelsea Market location, where you can sit and enjoy one of more than 20 bread varieties (semolina with golden raisins and fennel is one of the most popular) or a sandwich, morning pastry, or dessert.