As you walk up a sidewalk partially covered with small nicks and cracks you are overjoyed to finally get to your destination. Granted, just before opening the door there is a small, yet, inconvenient stair you have to pass before you come in. However, once you open that door and that sweet, warm, amazing aroma of chocolate hits your senses it is as if walking into the gates of heaven.
Stepping into a new world, away from the chill of a 47 degree windy day that leaves you wishing you could lose all ability to feel, the warmth inside Chocolate Place, located at 839 Morris Park Ave. in the Bronx, is a welcome to all the senses.
]The glass casings served well to show off in wonderful detail the many varieties, molds, and styles of the chocolates that were waiting to be bought. Each one different from the other with its own unique and distinctive look yelling to the customer “pick me, pick me.”
White walls also showcasing various chocolates on their shelves.
A look around and you would see Betty Boop purses of red and black hanging next to the Godiva, glass casings displaying jewelry and teddy bears keeping company with the candy.
Also keeping company with the candy was 57 year old Angela DaBenigno, the owner of the small shop.
“Because I love chocolate” she said when asked on why she opened Chocolate Place.
As roller-coasters are to Six Flags Chocolate Place is for your mouth. A look around and you can easily spot the many varieties the store has to offer.
“I have probably over 1000 molds and chocolates. Wow, we sell at least 60 varieties. We have truffles, we have pretzels, we have barks, we have turtles, and we have clusters” said DaBenigno.
When asked about the amount of costumers she serves everyday she has never kept count but said it was more or less 60 to 100 people a day to 360 to 600 people a week.
Those numbers help speak to the fact many Americans are in love with chocolate.
According to Criss White, a web writer for TinyPrints.com the average American consumes 10-12 pounds of chocolate a year. She goes on to write that “Several medical studies show that eating chocolate in moderation can actually prolong your life by reducing risk of blood clots and fighting bad cholesterol.”
Anita Murtha, a 56 year old woman who lives in Manhattan is a huge chocolate lover herself. She has loved chocolate ever since she can remember.
One of the best memories she has concerning chocolate had to do with an old friend who worked in a candy factory. Whenever the friend had a problem with one of the candies the friend would buy them cheaper and bring them to her.
Now that she is older she is trying to watch how much chocolate she consumes. However, when she does eat chocolate she prefers dark chocolate because she says “I like it and it’s good for you.”
However, people can become addicted to this Mayan food.
According to the Gothamist chocoholism actually exists. A study at Yale University found that when women saw photos of chocolate milkshakes “similar patterns of neural activation are implicated in addictive-like eating behavior and substance dependence.”
When asked about the effect of the recession on her business DaBenigno stated that although there might have been a slight impact it was not enough to influence the store in a negative way because “the things we sell here are not so expensive that you can’t indulge in a small piece of chocolate, two pieces of chocolate. So sometimes when people feel a little bit down they will indulge in something small so in that respect I don’t think we were so affected.”
The prices of the chocolate sold at this location go from a$.75 truffle to as high as $155. That large amount comes from the fact that the store is a seller of Godiva Chocolate.
The green apple dipped in caramel and then covered in chocolate ($5.75) gives that sweet taste with a sour punch. Contrast that with the sweetness of strawberries covered in chocolate (1.00/each).
The Chocolate Bunny ($1.00), with rainbow sprinkles on its ears, was pure chocolate on the inside. The sweetness of the chocolate makes your mouth feel as if it is a pool and the bunny is doing the butterfly and backstroke trying to showoff to Willy Wonka and it succeeded with 10’s across the board.
DaBenigno said that it was a bit of a struggle to open the shop but at the end it was well worth it: “I like working with chocolate and I really love the expression of the people when they leave they’re truly happy and they love the taste of the chocolate and they like what we make and they’re very accommodating.”