July 4, 2012

HB Sweets: A New Chocolate Culture at Max Brenner

Happy Summer!  It's been a while since my last post so I thought I would indulge a bit at one of my favorite NYC chocolate spots (see, nothing has changed in the past few months!).  From the moment you spot the signature Bald Man sign on Broadway, Max Brenner sucks you in and tempts you with the lure of delicious chocolate.  Once inside, you are enveloped by the sweet beginnings (smells and sights) of a truly decadent experience. What strikes me about this whimsical destination near Union Square, and makes the place so special, is that the Max Brenner team has succeeded in creating a perfect balance of grown-up and kid-friendly fun. The store is set up as part chocolate shop, part café/restaurant, and part chocolate laboratory.

Children (and most adults) will be delighted by the large variety of inventive goodies, including the marshmallow-topped chocolate pizza and giant plastic syringes full of squirtable chocolate, as well as the colorful glass displays of candies and overhead pipes full of liquid chocolate.  There is also a sophisticated vibe throughout, set by pulsating music (no Willy Wonka tunes here - at least while I was there), a creative cocktail menu, beautiful product packaging, stylish lighting and furniture, and Art Deco-inspired artwork.  I also love the Hug Mug, which is an oval-shaped handle-less mug designed specifically for perfect hot chocolate drinking (sounds like a great holiday gift idea)! 

So who is Max Brenner exactly?  The mysterious character behind this unique brand is actually based on two men - Max Fitchmen and Oded Brenner.  Oded Brenner learned the art of chocolate making in Paris and then teamed up with Fitchmen to create their first homemade chocolate shop in 1996 in Ra’anana, Israel.  Since then, Max Brenner shops have opened across the globe, seeking to establish a “new chocolate culture” of romance and individuality.  No matter what your mood, age, or chocolate preference, I do believe that Max Brenner has a little something for everyone.  I can't wait to try to make something from my new "CHOCOLATE - A Love Story" Max Brenner recipe book! 

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