With National Chocolate Day on October 28th and Halloween on October 31st, this week is delicious! And there is no better way to celebrate both occasions than with a visit to New York City’s Upper West Side happy place, Voilà Chocolat. The vision of Peter Moustakerski, Voilà Chocolat is an experiential chocolate-making concept that allows chocolate lovers of all ages to walk in off the street and make your very own high end chocolates.

Voila Chocolat Truffles, Photo by Terri Marshall, Globetrotting Traveling Grandmom

Voila Chocolat Truffles, Photo by Terri Marshall, Globetrotting Traveling Grandmom

Voilà Chocolat’s Happiness Concept

While most chocolate making classes and workshops focus on the history and science of chocolate, Voilà Chocolat focuses on fun. In just 30 minutes to an hour, you can make high end delicious chocolates. Learn to enrobe truffles, create bars and bark or try your hand at one-of-a-kind 3D chocolate mold creations. Choose from various animals, objects, shapes and seasonal designs. In addition to creating the mold, with the instruction of Voilà Chocolat chocolatiers, you will be able to paint unique patterns and designs on your creations. The process is simple enough for children, yet engaging enough for adults of all ages. The youngest patron so far was 14 months old – and he made chocolate.

Recently I sat down with Peter to talk about his creative endeavor. “After a few years in the financial industry I wanted to do something I cared about, something that would make me smile and make others smile,” says Peter. Since its opening last December on New York’s Upper West Side, Voilà Chocolat has significantly increased the number of smiles in the neighborhood.

Voilà Chocolat’s Team

Peter has brought together a chocolate dream team led by Master Chocolatier Christophe Toury formerly of Jacques Torres. Christophe began his career at the Ritz in Paris. He has been named by Pastry Art and Design Magazine as one of the 10 Best Pastry Chefs in America. Christophe loves watching customer reactions to discovering the chocolate making process for themselves.

I love the story Peter shared with me about an elderly man who came to Voilà Chocolat immediately after being released from the hospital where he had just endured a heart transplant. He wanted to make heart shaped lollipops for his surgeons. The best thing about this place – well besides the amazing chocolate – is that the entire family can participate. It makes a perfect multi-generational activity and I will be taking all of my grandkids next time they visit New York!

Master Chocolatier Christophe Toury, Photo by Terri Marshall, Globetrotting Traveling Grandmom

Chef Christophe Toury, Photo by Terri Marshall, Globetrotting Traveling Grandmom

Halloween at Voilà Chocolat

If you happen to be in New York this week, take the kids to Voilà Chocolat in costume to make chocolate Halloween-themed shapes, pumpkin Voilàllipops, Halloween-themed chocolate plaques and bark, pumpkin spice truffles and more. On Halloween fine chocolate will be given to costumed trick-or-treaters…and that is so much better than Tootsie Rolls!

Fortunately, it’s not all about the kids. On Halloween night from 8pm til 10pm Voilà Chocolat has Halloween for Adults where you can make your own 3-D chocolate Jack-O-Lanterns and skulls while imbibing as you choose with beer, wine, prosecco or hot chocolate and snacks.

Halloween at Voila Chocolat, Photo courtesy of Voila Chocolat

Halloween at Voila Chocolat, Photo courtesy of Voila Chocolat

Holiday Happiness at Voilà Chocolat

The fun doesn’t end with Halloween. There are several special events scheduled throughout the holiday season. For Thanksgiving week, November 22 through 24, you can make and decorate a chocolate turkey or pumpkin — under the guidance of a trained chocolatier — using professional chocolatiering tools and fine tempered chocolate. Take your creation home for the Thanksgiving table (or, as a very unique and personal host gift) and enjoy a glass of wine or artisanal hot chocolate while you create!

New York’s Upper West Side is the place to be on Thanksgiving Eve as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons are inflated. Voilà Chocolat will be offering samples and selling hot chocolate for the crowds. After Sponge Bob Square Pants and Mickey Mouse are blown up, you can stay and make 3-D chocolate molds of some of your favorite Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons.

On Black Friday, Voilà Chocolat offers an escape from the nonsense at the shopping mall as crazed shoppers fight over stuff no one needs. It is the perfect time to bring the whole family in to learn and create together. Private chocolate-making classes will be offered hourly from 10am to 9pm where you can make your own holiday gifts.

Seven of their projects will keep unrefrigerated through New Year’s and beyond (all the fine tempered chocolate activities except truffles) so you can make your own holiday gifts in late November and give and enjoy them through the holidays and beyond. Kids can enjoy one of 5 flavors of hot chocolate and adults can enjoy a glass of wine while you get your holiday gift list all wrapped up – and no one will get trampled at Walmart. Now, isn’t that a better way to promote holiday happiness?