NYC's First All Vegan Chocolate Shop is Now Open
Luxurious, vegan, environmentally sustainable chocolate has finally reached NYC.
On February 14, 2017, Cocoa V Chocolat re-opened its doors at 174 Ninth Avenue in Chelsea; Cocoa V is an artisanal vegan chocolate store. In 2013, owner Pamela Elizabeth of Urban Vegan Kitchen, Blossom, and Blossom du Jour, was forced to close Cocoa V after her original chocolatier left; Elizabeth was unable to find another chocolatier. Elizabeth's mission is to raise awareness about animal advocacy through people's palates and plates. She's a 20 year restauranteur performing advocacy through food. However, after coming across Damion Badalamenti, Elizabeth was able to re-open Cocoa V last month.
I was given the privilege to talk to Badalamenti and ask him about his experience as a chocolatier and how he plans to show his passion for chocolate through his creations at Cocoa V.
Badalamenti is a 21-year-industry-trained chocolatier, who has experience in both restaurant kitchens and the hospitality industry. Though Badalamenti himself is not vegan, his kitchen at Cocoa V is 100% vegan, which goes to show that vegan food is most definitely for everyone. As of right now, Badalamenti is making every piece of chocolate and pastry sold at Cocoa V by himself and he aims to "create movement in the mouth with something that is just eight grams." Badalamenti most definitely achieves his goal by using inventive and edgy flavors in his chocolates. Some of the current Cocoa V bon bon flavors include: Lavender Vanilla, Raspberry Ginger, PB&J, and Pistachio Apple.
As much as Badalamenti enjoys creating something that is "so small, so complete" in just one bite, he hopes to use Cocoa V as a catalyst to change the world of American chocolate. Even though there are a few outliers, American chocolatiers as a whole are not as renowned as European or even Japanese chocolatiers; Badalamenti aspires to bring a feeling of nostalgia into every single piece of chocolate he crafts, as he admires the Old European way of chocolate crafting and finds it more romantic. His love for European chocolate was so strong that he even spent time as an apprentice there, working on perfecting his palate and technique.