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.

Stone grinder once belonged to the original Hershey’s chocolate factory
The chocolate production line

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.

The custom vortex machine was designed by owner Daniel Preston to separate cocoa nibs from husk

Chocolate bar covers


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.
A copper still used to distill whiskey
All-natural ingredients that build up a bottle of whiskey
A sample of freshly distilled whiskey is checked with a hydrometer to confirm the alcohol level

Cacao Prieto

218 Conover St., Red Hook, Brooklyn(Map)

Mon—Fri: 9—7; Sat—Sun: 11—7

+1 347-225-0130

cacaoprieto.com

@Cacao-Prieto

@cacaoprieto

@cacao_prieto

Cacao Prieto Essentials

    1. 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).
    2. Order a tasting set. Get an assortment of Cacao Prieto’s signature seven chocolate bars. Available on cacaoprieto.com ($50)
    3. 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).
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I'm designer, photographer, and professional flâneur with a peculiar love towards impeccable design, well-crafted stories, and the intricacies of urban life. Follow me in the field on Instagram, read my tidbits Twitter and Facebook and subscribe to my weekly culture newsletter.