LOWER EAST SIDE — A delectable new shop that makes and sells its own chocolate opened on Broome Street Wednesday morning.
Christian Vautier Le Concept, which brings the famed Parisian chocolatier's sweets to New York for the first time, features an underground chocolate factory where workers hand-craft the pralines and truffles that are sold of upstairs.
Signature items include a white chocolate ganache truffle with raspberry filling and a coconut coating, said Aditi Malhotra, the shop's American co-owner, who developed the recipes with Vautier.
"There are so many things you can do with chocolate," said Malhotra, 27, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute. "Christian and I both really value the five senses, the touch, the feel, the smell."
Malhotra, who lives in the West Village but is moving to the Lower East Side to be closer to the 254 Broome St. shop, brings a modern twist to some of Vautier's classics, selling not just chocolate-covered almonds, but also chocolate-covered Cocoa Puffs. Malhotra also added a spicy bite to some of the ganaches, using cinnamon and Szechuan pepper.
Customers at Christian Vautier Le Concept can munch their truffles and hand-dipped fruit— along with macarons and other freshly baked French pastries — in a warm ground-floor cafe with seven lace-topped tables. To complete the French vibe, shelves along one wall are stocked with books Malhotra found in Parisian thrift shops.
The 500-square-foot shop also serves coffee and hot chocolate, and once Malhotra gets a liquor license, she hopes to add beer and wine pairings for the desserts.
This is Malhotra's first culinary venture, though she has worked in Morimoto's kitchen and in management at Resto. Malhotra's family owns restaurants in India and the New York metropolitan area, and while she briefly considered a career outside the kitchen, she was always drawn back to her roots.
"It's in our blood," Malhotra said. "I can't imagine doing anything else."
Christian Vautier Le Concept, 254 Broome St., is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.