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Interview: MarieBelle of New York's Soho

Walk westward on Soho's historic Broome Street and among all the trendy, sophisticated shops you will find an elegant chocolatier with an interior right out of the Victorian Era -- but with yummy chocolates freshly made for the 21st Century palate. That is the pleasure of being at MarieBelle, founded in 2002 by Maribel Lieberman whose lifelong passion started as a child, making sugar candies and selling them in her neighborhood. Recently, we had a chance to catch up with her and here's what else we learned:

Maribel Lieberman, founder of MarieBelle

What is your first memory of chocolate?

When I was seven years old, my mother made a drink out of freshly roasted and ground cacao, and she also added a little bit of corn flour, cinnamon and sugar. It was soooooooooooo good that I still remember the taste of it. 

When did you realize you wanted to devote your life to actually making chocolate?

In 1999, I wanted to open a gourmet food store with only the best ingredients that Mother Earth has to offers us, and to tell their story, their origins etc. When I made the business plan, though, I realized that I was way below the budget for this business. I decided that I would start the business but just one food item at a time, and chocolate was my first choice because a) it came from my country of origin (?) and I was eager to tell the story, and b) not much investment and space was needed. In the end, I never went beyond chocolate making, because I found chocolate was my passion.

What do you think makes your chocolate distinct from others?

Making little pieces of art on each chocolate and using all-natural ingredients. It brings not only pleasure to the palate but enchantment to the eyes....or as they say, "art to the palate."  

MarieBelle store in Soho

Which of your chocolates do you think will surprise people most?

I think the hot chocolate made European style. Very dark and thick and very addictive!

When you're not making chocolate, what do you enjoy doing?

I love listening to wonderful classical music pieces made by old or new composers. For example, Schubert, Mozart, Nyman, Satie, and Djawadi.

Final thoughts?

I feel fortunate to have found my passion in life. I followed my heart and went for it!


Learn more about MarieBelle here on Grahame's Chocolate Guide:

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