Kris Kruid toted her Traverse City roots to New York City, where she partnered with iconic French pastry chef Jacques Torres to form Jacques Torres Chocolates, then brought it back home for her first satellite boutique outside the Big Apple, opening on Front Street in Traverse City last March.

Now Manhattan love has landed on the Third Coast. Take the Wicked Hot Chocolate, an exquisite quaffable confection engineered by Master Chocolatier Jacques Torres and available by the steaming mugful right here on Front Street in Traverse City. Cocoa, we’re told, is for posers; Torres’ wicked elixir is rendered from premium ground chocolate and sassed up with allspice, cinnamon, ancho and chipotle peppers and a soupçon of something secret.

Liquid bliss notwithstanding, a quick glance around this très chic boutique reveals a multidimensional chocolatelover’sparadise buzzing with innuendo: stylized glass cases are full of hand-painted truffles with names like Love Potion and Ménage à Trois, towers of signature orange boxes frame a wraparound espresso bar and accent the sexy lounge outfitted with funky custom furniture. grabbed a few minutes with Kris Kruid to ask her a couple questions about Jacques Torres Chocolates.

MyNorth: What brought Jacques Torres Chocolates to Traverse City?

Kris Kruid: Jacques and I opened our first chocolate factory nine years ago under the Brooklyn Bridge on a dead-end road
where the mob was dumping bodies. The New York Times wrote us up with four days notice, and pretty soon there were lines down the sidewalk. After expanding to Manhattan and the Upper West Side I decided it was time to retire and move back to Traverse City. My retirement, and my chocolate supply, lasted about a week.

MyNorth: What’s your favorite Jacques Torees confection?

Kris Kruid: The chocolate chip cookies, there’s no question. We use large 60% dark chocolate disks which melt and createa layer of chocolate within the cookie. They have all the right textures.

Jacques Torres Chocolates, 225 E. Front St., Traverse City, 231-929-7100, MRCHOCOLATE.COM.

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