With a multitude of fine new manufacturers, Red Hook may well be the new food-making mecca of Brooklyn. While most places in the area focus on perfecting one type of product at a time, Cacao Prieto stands out as an exception. Its range of crafted bean-to-bar dark chocolate is accompanied by whiskey varietals distilled on site as well as seasonal herbal cocktails served next door. Intrigued by the creative alchemy of this food making hub, I stopped by to learn more.
Cacao Prieto opened its doors in 2010 as a product of mastermind Daniel Preston, a college dropout who found himself reinventing a military parachute and was obliged to switch careers after selling that company for 22 million dollars. This time, his inventive spirit found expression in chocolate-making — today Daniel is holding 40 cocoa- and chocolate- related patents.
A secret garden tucked at the back of Cacao Prieto provides a serene stopover with exotic birds of all kinds and scenes from a historic film.
The garden also serves as a separation between the chocolate and the distilling sides of the building.
218 Conover St., Red Hook, Brooklyn (Map)
Mon—Fri: 9—7; Sat—Sun: 11—7
Cacao Prieto Essentials
- Sign up for a tour. Get an in-depth look at the history of cacao in the Dominican Republic, the beans to bar process, the machinery used for processing and science that makes chocolate the unique product it is. Tasting flights of chocolate and spirits included. Weekends only. Book a tour on cacaoprieto.com ($20).
- Order a tasting set. Get an assortment of Cacao Prieto’s signature seven chocolate bars. Available on cacaoprieto.com ($50)
- Taste a herbal cocktail. Botanica, Cacao Prieto’s bar partner located next door is serving excellent $12 cocktails with local spirits. (Open Friday through Sunday night).