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Truffles and macarons and French pastries, oh my!

Chocolatrium Michel Cluizel, the ultimate chocolate experience in West Berlin, New Jersey, is a chocolate lovers’ dream come true.

Chocolatrium, a chocolate museum modeled after Cluizel’s Chocolatrium in Damville, Haute-Normandie, France, location of the company’s world headquarters, offers privately guided tours. Visitors learn about chocolate history, how cacao (chocolate’s purest form) evolved through the centuries and how it is processed.

Chocolatrium Michel Cluizel,
Chocolatrium Michel Cluizel, West Berlin, N.J.
Credit: Chocolatrium Michel Cluizel

“We are not a static museum,” said Jacques Dahan, president “Expect some form of hands-on experience.” Tours cover the history and process from cocoa bean to finished product and are topped off with tastings.

“Each tour is tailored to the audience and is a chocolate experience,” Dahan said. “We offer several ‘experiences,’ and they all involve tasting of various products.”

Tour participants will learn how to recognize “great” chocolate versus a “basic” chocolate and how to appreciate the complexity of a truffle getting the most of it using the senses.

Michel Cluizel is one of the world’s few cacaoféviers, those that process cocoa beans into chocolate. To ensure it gets the best beans, the French chocolatier has a direct partnership with cacao planters in Brazil, Santo Domingo, Mexico, São Tomé, Madagascar and Colombia, guaranteeing them consistent purchase prices and worker-friendly conditions.  

An optional Parisian inspired lunch or dinner can be added to the tour. Hands-on classes can also be arranged, Dahan said.

Another option for groups is the Paint-Your-Palate® experience where participants choose an object of molded, non-tempering white chocolate to paint with brightly colored “paint.” At the end of the experience, the object may be eaten.

Free motorcoach parking is available nearby.

Tours are also offered in the Manhattan and Brooklyn shops but differ from the New Jersey tours, Dahan said. Those interested should call for details, he said.

For more information, call 856-486-9292 or visit cluizel.us/collections/chocolate-tours.

Article by Kathie Sutin