No, it’s not an exotic adventure destination, but close. Tumbador Chocolate is an exceptional Brooklyn-based chocolate company which creates sustainable and delicious made-to-order chocolate, crafted from the finest ingredients in the world, featuring exotic fruits, spices, fresh herbs and regional flavors. The InterContinental New York Barclay works with Tumbador to create its delicious chocolate amenities. In Spanish the word Tumbador means “to fall.” But as Lisa Ainbinder, the company’s VP of Sales and Marketing explained, a Tumbador is the worker on a Cocoa plantation who shakes and listens to cocoa pods to make sure they are ready for the picking.
On a recent rainy day, I nabbed InterContinental New York Barclay’s Executive Chef Serge Devesa and Chef Concierge, Domenic Alfonzetti and hopped the N Train to Sunset Park (4th Avenue and 36th Street stop,) to visit the Tumbador Chocolate factory – Willy Wonka,
Our hotel’s Director of Quality Mimi Dagot, kindly arranged the visit for us to see first hand what she’s been raving about: the service, creativity, flexibility, local community support and quality that makes Tumbador a stand-out. This chocolatier not only makes yummy confections – it does so in a socially-conscious way.
We arrived and were guided straight to a kitchen after a mini orientation. We found Executive Pastry Chef/Owner Jean-François Bonnet transfixed upon a football (translation: soccer) game screened on a small computer perched above a chocolate vat.
Once we pulled him and our Chef Devesa away from this seductive diversion, we learned about Chef Bonnet and his iconic Americana concept chocolates for Tumbador. These include his interpretation of S’mores (my favorite!) mallows, pretzel nuggets and ringdings, among others.
Formerly of New York’s renowned restaurant Daniel, Chef Bonnet brims with enthusiastic energy. World-renowned chef Daniel Boulud noted that Chef Bonnet “has the technique of an artisan and the creativity of an artist. He combines it with simplicity and respect for delicate flavors and textures.” Indeed, his creativity permeates the delicious all natural, no preservative, Kosher/Parve non-dairy custom confections of this Brooklyn sweet spot.
Tumbador’s staff is as diverse as its confections. Many members of the Tumbador workforce are ex-convicts given a second chance through community-based programs such as Strive, Goodwill and the Fortune Society. I had the pleasure to get to know a success story in the person of Jamel Spencer, Delivery and Maintenance Manager. A five-year member of the Tumbador family, Jamel told me of the dreadful events that landed him in prison, and his plight to work hard, do well and do good. Now a positive member of society, Jamel is integral and indispensable to the Tumbador operation.
Visit their Website where you can buy some of Tumbador Chocolate’s retail goodies and seasonal specials. These can also occasionally be found on invitation-based sale sites such as Fab, Lot 18 and Rue LaLa.