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Credit: Cocoa V

Pamela Elizabeth has been an ethical vegan for 21 years.  She believes that awareness of the environment and animals is key to her successful entrepreneurship.  Since 2005, when she opened the first of 8 restaurants that cater to the mindful vegan looking for a great meal, Pamela has poured her heart and soul into her businesses.

Cocoa V
Pamela Elizabeth. Credit: Cocoa V.

On Valentine’s day, Pamela opened the doors to Cocoa V, a dairy-free, vegan, and kosher chocolate and pastry shop.  Located at 174 9th Avenue on the ever-evolving west side of Chelsea, Cocoa V provides a relaxing and welcoming art deco environment, from the lettering on the candies’ labels to the music filling the room.  Little details like this permeate into the product as well.

On my first visit to Cocoa V, I just did a quick drive-by to introduce myself. I was treated to some of the Pumpkin Seed Bark.  Roasted pepitas, dark chocolate, and sea salt made for a mouth-watering treat  It was simple and delightfully bittersweet.  I know, bittersweet is a cliche to use when describing a dark chocolate, but it really was that simple and perfect.  Bitter, sweet, and salty.  First one, then the other, in succession, like a primer in tastes.

Credit: Cocoa V
Credit: Cocoa V

On my second trip to the Cocoa V, i met with Pamela, when i could manage to get a word in between a steady stream of customers, and learned more about what her motivation was for beginning this new venture.  We discussed veganism, and the ethics behind the practice in particular.  Cocoa V is committed to contributing to animal rights, food education, and environmental concerns.  Elizabeth knows that there are many more thoughtful people out there that share the same commitment and she wants to be the one to provide them with the culinary choices that fit their ideals.  She asked herself what was missing and settled on chocolate.  We are lucky she did.

Credit: Cocoa V
Credit: Cocoa V

So let’s get down to brass tacks…  If you are opening up a chocolate shop, you need to have great bon bons.  The PB&J is layered strawberry jam and creamy dark chocolate peanut butter surrounded by dark chocolate with a ruby and bronze finish.  This bite was full of childhood memories of bag lunches packed by mom.

Credit: Cocoa V
Credit: Cocoa V

On what seems like a more traditional route, the Dark Truffle is a blend of Madagascar and Caribbean chocolates with vanilla bean.  The crunchy, cocoa-powdered outside houses a rich and delectable filling.  The Dark Sea Salted Caramel is ooey-gooey goodness within a wave of thin chocolate shell.

Credit: Cocoa V
Credit: Cocoa V

If you are seeking something more romantic, try the Raspberry Ginger.  Appropriately heart-shaped and bright red, the fire that burns within this bon bon is sweet and spicy.  A chocolate that would call to mind a summer fling.  These bon bons are like edible poetry.

Dark Truffle.  Credit: Cocoa V
Dark Truffle. Credit: Cocoa V

The rest of Cocoa V’s bon bon selection, as well as a full menu, can be viewed on their website and they will ship nationwide. Here you can check out their selection of pastries as well.  I was fortunate enough to taste the Lemon Chip Cake.  A moist pound cake style dessert with small bits of chocolate throughout. Or, you can stop by the store for an Espresso and Elizabeth’s favorite, the Double Chocolate Cookie.  This summer, Cocoa V plans to add dairy free ice cream to its already impressive selection.

Boxed Bon Bons

For more information on Cocoa V, visit their website, or call (646)998-3130.