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Martines Chocolates
Martine’s Chocolates
In a tiny space in Bloomingdale’s, the elegant Martine Leventer creates her French-inspired chocolates right in front of her customers. You can watch as her team of chocolatiers produce one tiny work of art after another.
What motivated you to open a chocolate business?
I always wanted to have my own business—even as a teenager, business fascinated me.I saw it as a kind of chess game on a worldwide map. And certainly more important to me, I saw it as a way to connect with people all over the world and I dreamt of getting to know other people and interacting with them.

This opportunity materialized after I got married to my late husband, Al Pechenik. The chocolate business had been his life, mostly in big corporations. I heard a lot about it and visited lots of companies in Europe with him. It sure helped that I love chocolate! Because when we envisioned launching a business, I did not hesitate. Even if it meant leaving my country, France, my family, my longtime friends and a very successful career in journalism.

After all, I always had a love affair with the United States and with New York especially. My only condition was “make a difference.” Remember, I lived in a country full of small chocolate shops—and very good ones. Who needed another chocolate shop if it was similar to the existing ones?
Martine's favorite bonbon brings back memories of her childhood in France. Her French Cherry confection combines a cherry marinated in brandy, enrobed in a dark chocolate ganache and then perfectly encased in an embossed dark chocolate shell.
Did you have any formal training in chocolate making?
Yes—in Europe, Canada, Mexico and in the shop!
Where do you get your inspiration for the different flavors and textures you include in your chocolates?
I have a large collection of European books with recipes, childhood memories, some personal cravings, other people’s cravings…and a way of getting ideas from things not at all related to chocolate. The main concern, when it comes to filled chocolates, is to get the “true” taste of the filling without “killing” the chocolate taste—or the reverse.

It is all about “balance” and “contrast” when it comes to texture—unless it has to be a perfect harmony. Like music. When it comes to my solid chocolate Creations (very important to me) the inspiration is closer to art, nature, colors and, again, association with things unrelated to chocolate. It’s called creativity, I suppose. Difficult to explain.
If you had to describe your product line in a couple of sentences, what would that be?
Ever heard of chocolate orgasms?…Well, it’s been mentioned in the shop a lot of times! But I’ll try to give you what I assume you are looking for. Martine’s Chocolates (filled or Creations) are handmade fresh daily right in front of the customers in each shop: it’s a global chocolate experience. Both lines can be personalized or/and custom made right there, all by hand. Martine’s Chocolates are all about uniqueness in every way.
What is your personal favorite out of all the products you make and why?
My personal favorite product is the next one, because it challenges my creativity. Otherwise, I have now too many favorites among the filled chocolates and the Creations to be able to pick just one. But the testament to my childhood memories is the French Cherry marinated in brandy, enrobed in a dark ganache, in a dark shell. Mmmmm…
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Martine’s Chocolates

Martine’s Chocolates at Bloomingdale’s
6th floor (Manhattan store at 59/Lex)
1000 Third Avenue
New York NY 10022-1231

Martine’s Chocolates Too
400 E 82nd Street (right off First Avenue)
New York NY

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