Brooklyn’s chocolate man, Jacques Torres, is branching into the soft stuff.
The chocolatier recently celebrated the opening of an ice cream parlor next door to his DUMBO space, at 62 Water Street.
Bonbon combinations that have made Torres’ store so popular, including the “Love Bug” — white chocolate and lime — and “Wicked” — chocolate with chipotle — can be found in ice cream form.
“We started selling ice cream sandwiches four years ago. We would sell 500 of them in one day,” said Ken Goto, a partner with Torres who works out of the DUMBO store. “We figured, if people want it so much, we’ll give the people what they want.”
I took a trip to the kitchen of Jacques Torres DUMBO, where the chefs have been busy making their 14 flavors of ice cream and sorbet, to get a sneak peak. Once inside, I was surrounded by rows of sweet pralines ready to be pureed, and handfuls of vanilla pods seemingly plucked right from the earth.
“Our motto is everything is real, nothing is fake,” said Goto. “What you see is what you get.”
What I first got was one of the purest offerings — vanilla, not so exciting in comparison to some of the more inspired offerings to come, but not lacking in flavor or texture. Similarly, the strawberry I sampled was incredibly creamy, as well as refreshing, and the chocolate, made from the store’s Belgian blend, had the kind of meltâˆ’inâˆ’yourâˆ’mouth quality you’d dream of in the dessert.
Beyond what you’d expect to find in a Neapolitan, I tried vanilla ice cream again, but with a swirl of caramel and rum. The result was a very sweet but balanced flavor, with the rum not too strong. Even sweeter was the hazelnut ice cream with chocolate chunks, perfect for the insatiable sweet tooth.
Experimenting more, next I had the Love Bug — a favorite, if he had to choose, of Goto’s, and it’s easy to taste why. Modeled after the store’s white chocolate and lime bonbon of the same name, the ice cream featured similar ingredients, as well as a thin swirl of raspberry. The resulting scoop had a zing to it, one I imagined would be very welcome on a sweltering day. It also was very fragrant.
“We buy real limes and squeeze it all,” said Goto, which includes the rind. “That makes it smell really good.”
Last up for the ice creams in the taste test was the Wicked — a perfect name for this spicy blend. Made of chocolate combined with cinnamon, nutmeg and chipotle, just like the bonbon, the resulting flavor offers dual sensations of hot and cold as you swallow. While the act of eating ice cream always begs for water, for this flavor it’s a must. “It’s probably not for the kids,” Goto said.
I delved into the frozen yogurt next, which, while it won’t be in stock this weekend, the store looks to break out as soon as they have the machine for it. I hope it is soon, as the yogurt topped with mixed berries was a delicious treat that didn’t make me feel too guilty.
It was probably fitting then that I had the fatâˆ’free raspberry sorbet next. Though sure to be a popular option for the more calorieâˆ’conscious, the flavor was fully satisfying even as it was such a light, whipped treat.
The last flavor on the menu was another sorbet offering, mango, where the store’s motto of “real” truly came through, as it felt like scooping into an actual chilled mango, sweet but still with a bit of a bite.
Though I didn’t, you can pair your scoop with toppings, including treats you’d find in the store such as chocolateâˆ’covered pretzels, cherries or malt balls, or just have it solo in a cup or waffle cone.
Down the line, more flavors are expected on a rotating basis (ginger is a possibility, a la the fresh ginger root and dark chocolate ganache bonbon), as well as Belgian waffles and pints to go.
Seating might be added to the space, which in its former life was used as storage for the store’s winter packaging. That’s if the crowds don’t get in the way first, which, after these samplings, they’re a sure bet to do.