Become a chocolatier at a family-run institution

Chocolate lovers unite and make your way to Brooklyn for an opportunity to make your own sweet confections.

If you’re like most people and enjoy the taste of chocolate, you will be in heaven at the Brooklyn-based JoMart Chocolates. The veteran confectioner has been serving up sweet treats to New Yorkers since 1946.

JoMart Chocolates has stood the test of time and even surpassed a number of other chocolate and confectionary shops in the neighborhood, in their 70 year run. The original owner’s son, Michael Rogak now runs the shop, saying their mission and tricks of the trade have not changed since the day they opened.

“I am using the same stove and copper kettles to make fresh chocolates and confections,” said Rogak. According to their website, they also still hand-dip every chocolatey and delicious item that comes from their shop.

Rogak, who is dedicated to his craft says candy making runs in the family. It also might be why the business continues to be so successful. 

“I asked my father why he went into the candy business,” Rogak remembers. “Since my grandfather was also a candy maker, I thought I knew the answer. I was wrong, After World War II the memories of so much pain and suffering were fresh in everyone’s mind. My father wanted to be in a business that catered to celebrating the good things in life.”

Chocolatier Michael Rogak creates a batch of sweet treats. (Photo: Daniel Shapiro)

Celebrating the good things is exactly what the business sets out to do. They offer a range of items from corporate platters and baskets, to gift boxes or gift towers for that special someone. If you can dream it, they can probably make it. Whether you’re a fan of gooey, hand-dipped chocolate marshmallows (which are some of their most popular items), or you like something a little simpler like a bar or box of chocolates, you’ll find it at JoMart. Some of their website’s most popular items include delicacies like pecan rolls, Brooklyn chunkies and chocolate covered cherries. 

“We have been entrusted to provide the last taste at countless parties and celebrations,” said Rogak. “We will never take that responsibility for granted. Regardless of the day’s events, it can only improve if ended with a small piece of delicious chocolate.”

He makes a good point. A little chocolate can make your day better, at least for a little while. While delicious, chocolate may also be not as bad for us we think. More and more studies are suggesting that the sweet treat may be a heart-healthy choice, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you really enjoy the sweeter things in life and want to do more than just buy the treats, JoMart offers classes and workshops to help you to get a grip on the craft of creating chocolate. Whether you are interested in pursuing a new career, or you just want to cross something off your bucket list, they offer four week recreational courses and work shops, and even have a personalized class option according to Rogak. 

“The class is designed to entertain and inform,” he said. “We increase your knowledge base as much as you prefer (or as little), we do a relaxed chocolate tasting (now that doesn’t sound too stressful), there are a couple of short demos (hand-dipping, hand tempering, molding) and then it’s all hands in the chocolate (actually one hand).”

A sampling of Jomart’s hand-dipped Easter eggs. (Photo: Michael Rogak)

A private course will cost you a pretty penny, but you’ll learn from an expert at a place that has been featured by numbers media organizations and online publications.

If chocolate’s not really your thing, or you’d rather buy it than make it, JoMart also offers cake decorating classes at their Brooklyn location. There are three different options all costing $150 each. If you’re just getting started and want to learn the basics, they will teach you things like icing preparation, piping, making flowers, and using those cool looking pastry bags.

Once you have the basics down, you can take other courses to learn how to basket weave and work with patterns to make really unique and good-looking cakes. If you can figure that out and master the process, their third level course will teach you really fancy things. In this course you’ll learn about embroidery and lace, take your skills to the next level creating tiers, and work with fondant and cut outs.

The decades-old business has become an institution in its Brooklyn neighborhood and it is  something Michael Rogak is very proud of.

“JoMart has given me a creative outlet, allowed me to add joy to many many events,” he said. “I have been able to provide many jobs over the years.  It feels wonderful to see our family business become a family tradition over and over again My daughters, my wife and I have successfully worked together for decades.”

If you’re not in Brooklyn and don’t feel like making a trip, you can always order products from their website (where you can also sign up for classes).