Hispanic Roots and Designs on Chocolate

The brand also sports a signature box of vivid blue and deep brown, in itself a beautiful item even before the box opens to reveal the luscious chocolates inside.

Ms. Lieberman’s success has led to an expanded and extensive product line that includes colorful candies, creamy chocolate bars, and even table-top and gift items.

Another delicacy that MarieBelle New York is famous for is the brand’s Aztec Hot Chocolate, available in four flavors— Aztec Regular, Aztec Dark, Aztec Mocha, and Aztec Spicy.

Fall is an exciting time for Ms. Lieberman, not just because it’s hot chocolate season, but because each September, she unveils a new collection of gift sets and boxes just in time for the holidays.

MarieBelle New York is now sold across the world in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

MarieBelle Fine Treats and Chocolates, Ms. Lieberman’s flagship store in SoHo, opened in 2002 and is almost as visually stunning as her chocolates. The store is large yet still manages to be cozy and warm with antique curved glass and mahogany display cases. When entering the store, it’s hard to decide what area to visit first: the etager featuring the new Café Copan coffee tin in red and gold, or the long glass counter embracing the 26 varieties of custom-designed chocolate ganaches.

And if you visit that ganache-laden counter first, you’re going to find yourself losing complete track of time while trying to make up your mind based on flavor (Cardamon, Caipirinha, Dulce de Leche) or design (graphic, fashion, art deco, children’s). And while you’re perusing, your senses will be imbued with the rich scents surrounding you, wafting from The Cacao Bar at the rear of the store.

The Cacao Bar boasts fresh-baked pastries, cookies, and cakes, where you can enjoy the richest hot chocolate and most decadent confections, or even a traditional full-service high tea.

Monthly chocolate-tasting programs are held for chocoholics (and wannabe’s who will be addicted after one tasting session), where the origins of chocolate and the various historical uses of the cacao bean are explained. The intricacies of which chocolate to serve with which wine, tea, or coffee are also explored.

Working hard at forging strategic alliances, Ms. Lieberman has developed relationships with retailers such as Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, as well as positioning her brand among other luxurious names worldwide. Expanding into corporate gift, catalog, and Web sales has also stimulated growth and brand awareness. “I’m always looking ahead, ” she says. “I credit the past for its contribution to my present success, of course, and then I take another confident step forward into the future.”

While Ms. Lieberman has been busy building her store and her brand, she has not forgotten about the broader community and her Latin American roots. She has acted as the spokesperson for the Museum of Hispanic Society in New York, where she recreated cuisine from original Aztec recipes and used the first book ever written about chocolate, Antonio de Leon Pinelo’s Question Moral, written in 1636.

Her most personal mission is to help wipe child abuse and exploitation from the world map. She is an active member and supporter of Innocence in Danger, an international non-profit organization that operates in 29 countries.


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