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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

MariBelle New York chocolate

It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it's strong - the chocolate crave. I was yearning for some sweet goodness after my lunch break, and that's when my co-worker handed me a MarieBelle New York chocolate bar. 
"Gosh, Megan," I exhaled at once. "My birthday is not for two more months. Wanna save the gifts for then?" 
Megan--normally a caring, generous and selfless creature--made two things clear. First, it's not a gift. And second, she wants it back. 
I took one square of the luscious chocolate and complied with her demands, but not before thoroughly admiring its alluringly artistic packaging. A thick stock of pastel blue paper encases the chocolate bar like wrapping paper with images of a young boy sailing out to sea in a tea cup. His striped shirt and brimmed hat reminds me of an afternoon in Paris while seashells, starfish and anchors delicately adorn the outline of the pastel-blue sky. Below, a decorative whale swims in the wavy waters while the boy-sailer spots land just ahead. 
MarieBelle New York's Milk Chocolate and Sea Salt, reads the label in the center of the scene, noting the main ingredient is from Ecuador. As I gently opened the first colorful flap, as though opening a book of watercolors, I was greeted with the owner and founder: MarieBelle Lieberman, and her brief bio. Hailing from Honduras, she's a skilled chef, designer and chocolatier. As a child, she would sell her confections to the kids in her village. After attending the Parsons School of Design in New York, she opened a chocolate factory in Brooklyn. In 2012, Inc. Magazine named MarieBelle New York as one of “the fastest growing private companies in America,” and Oprah Winfrey gave accolades to her products in the highly coveted “Oprah’s Favorite Things.”  
Now the bar itself is just as impressive as its maker. I'm not usually a fan of milk chocolate, but this one is on the top of my list. The chocolate tastes of a mild, silky-smooth experience with subtle flakes of sea salt complementing the last moments of indulgence. It is made from the Cacao Trinitario, a cacao from Honduras. 
The packaging notes that Maribel Lieberman now works to empower women producing cacao, buying directly from the producers and giving them the opportunity to improve their living standards. Carrying a product like this in your stores doesn't only mean a beautiful piece of artwork for consumers to look at but also an opportunity to support women at all levels of the chocolate industry. 
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