Hispanic Roots and Designs on Chocolate

As a child in Honduras this Hispanic businesswoman was inspired by chocolate which has come back full circle

Chocolate comes full circle via the heart and hands of Maribel Lieberman- a retrospective.

For this Hispanic businesswoman the Mayans and Aztecs of South America had a special meaning discovered...they chocolate 3,000 years ago. They not only used the cacao bean as currency, they also made a bitter hot chocolate drink that was believed to deliver good health.

Then the Europeans co-opted the bitter bean, adding oodles of sugar, milk, oils, and other ingredients, creating the forms of chocolate that we recognize today. Not too long ago in the minds of many, fine chocolate came only from Belgium, or the Swiss, or most of all from the French, who perfected the art of the chocolatier.

Imported chocolate was the only chocolate to be had by discerning palates—until MaribelLieberman brought fine and beautiful chocolate confections back to America, back to the roots of this 3,000 year-old delicacy that modern man (and woman) cannot seem to live without.

When compiling a list of the finest chocolate purveyors in the U.S., Maribel Lieberman’s MarieBelle New York has to be near the top. And it’s not just about the chocolate—which is superb—it’s also about the presentation and design of each confection. After receiving a box of MarieBelle chocolates, you’re left wondering whether to eat them or frame and hang them on the wall.

When she was a child in Honduras, Ms. Lieberman says, “my family taught me so much about passion and perseverance, and about wonderful food.” Her father owned a farm and her mother ran a boarding house while raising Ms. Lieberman’s eight brothers and sisters. “Today,” she says, “I can hear both my mother and my grandmother guiding me as I imagine what step I want to take next.” Even when she was young, Ms. Lieberman was stretching her Hispanic entrepreneurial muscles. “When I was just a child of eight, I made sugar candies and sold them to children in my neighborhood,” she says.

After moving to New York City, as an adult Ms. Lieberman studied fashion design at Parsons School of Design. But her love of candy never left her, and she decided to combine both her eye and talent as a designer with her love of candy, especially chocolate. This passion resulted in MarieBelle Fine Treats and Chocolates, the flagship store of her chocolate empire, located in the heart of the SoHo district of New York City.

Her MarieBelle New York branded confections are now sold internationally. Her husband, artist Jacques Lieberman, contributes eclectic, color-rich designs that adorn every chocolate, making each piece a visual delight as well as a mouth-watering treat. Each chocolate ganache displays a one-of-a-kind work of art, turning the simple act of eating chocolate into a sensory delight to the mouth, eyes, and soul.

 

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