A few years back, Swedish coffee guru, Lars Akurland, started FIKA Espresso Bar in the midtown section of Manhattan. Fika, in Swedish, literally means to “eat a sweet snack” after coffee. Coffee? Sweets? Chocolate and coffee paired together? This sounds like something we could get used to.
It’s just our good luck that FIKA has a glimmering new flagship location in the Financial District, not far from Stone Street. Though coffee and sweets are certainly the inspiration for FIKA, the chocolate, and the master chocolatier who crafts it, is second-to-none- from here to Sweden.
Håkan Mårtensson, one of the world’s most creative chocolate sculpting visionaries has been happy to call New York home these last few years. Brought over from Sweden, Mårtensson has been sculpting chocolate statues and figures with a dreamlike frenzy. We have found nowhere in NYC where you can watch, or gawk as we do, a master craft and sculpt his vivid imagination into life-like chocolate figurines, faces, and designs (there is even a window in the back for us voyeurs to peak in and watch the chocolatier hard at work).
Indeed the coffee, sandwiches, and chocolate gawking are reason enough to visit- but there’s more. Just recently, we met up with Mårtensson and he introduced us to his newest collection of bon bons: The Four Elements- Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water.
At the moment, there is nothing quite like the Four Elements- four chocolate bonbons seamlessly crafted to be consumed in one sitting. Each are in half-spherical in shape with a glistening and artful exterior design meant to capture the essence of Earth, Wind, Fire, or Water.
Below is a brief description of each.
Mårtennson just so happens to be a master of chocolate subtlety, ensuring that our taste buds experience different flavors, textures, and pings of spice within one bon bon. This is no small feat, for many a chocolatier, this simply doesn’t exist in their arsenal.
Earth does indeed have “earthy” tones, the star ingredients being gianduja and pop rocks- which in other pieces can be overwhelming. Not here. The deployment of pop rocks can prove gimmicky in some pieces, but Mårtensson’s steady hand delivers a true winner.
Wind- quite possibly the most “fun” piece out of the four consists of small doses of frangelico and amaretto. The combination feels light and airy on the tongue- think of a refreshing breeze on a cool spring afternoon.
Fire. Ah. For those who fear a little spice in their chocolate. Fear not. The kick of cinnamon and tabasco gently tickles the back of the throat seconds after the bon bon dissolves in your mouth.
Water- Almost every shop we walk into these days has some combination of sea salt and caramel- but not quite like this. The liquid caramel and gentle use of sea salt freshens the palate and has proved quite addicting.
Stop by FIKA at 66 Pearl Street and treat yourself to some coffee and chocolate.
professorchocolate.com for more fun blogs and chances to purchase our book, The Ultimate Guide to Finding Chocolate in NYC By Rob Monahan and Neill Alleva.