mariebelle feature

MarieBelle New York – A Q&A with Chocolatier Maribel Lieberman

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Growing up on the cacao fields of Honduras, Maribel Lieberman gained an intimate familiarity with cultivating authentic cacao.

Her sophisticated chocolate confections are now found throughout New York, Japan, and Dubai, under her MarieBelle Chocolates banner.

Whether it is the signature artisanal ganache, the lavish truffles and bars, or the incomparable Aztec Hot Chocolate (featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things) – the name MarieBelle is synonymous with everything that is refined, beautifully designed, and decadent.

To learn more about Maribel or to purchase one of her chocolates for the holiday season, please visit MarieBelle.com.

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Ricardo Rivera
Maribel Lieberman Courtesy of ©MarieBelle New York; Photo by Ricardo Rivera

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1. How and when did you first realize you wanted to work in your current industry?

It was 22 years ago, when I realized my love for food, it was then when I switched from fashion to food and chocolates.

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2. What is your biggest career highlight to date?

When my signature hot chocolate was featured as one of Oprah’s Favorite things.

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3. Any celebrity clients or memorable stories related to your business that you want to share?

Over the years there have been many celebrities coming to MarieBelle. I remember in the very beginning of my business I was the only person working at the store and Whoopi Goldberg walked into the store. Since I was the only person working at the store, she had to wait for me to finish with one customer. The customer that was waiting to be served noticed Whoopi and he asked for her autograph and her answer was “only if you buy chocolates.” Many celebrities come to buy chocolates or sit at the Cacao Bar. In the past we have served Susan Sarandon, Gabriel Byrnes, Ralph Fiennes, Kirsten Dunst, just to name a few, and Jennifer Lopez has also been a big fan of the brand over the years.

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4. How would you describe your personal style?

Classic, not trendy.

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5. What is a typical day in your life like?

In the morning at 7:00 a.m. I do yoga for an hour. I then get ready for work and typically arrive at my office around 9:30 a.m. I schedule my meetings in the morning, at the factory or at the store, and very often finish my day at the factory. I visit MarieBelle New York in SoHo since I live just a few blocks away. I may get together with friends or attend some events in the evening.

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nutcracker box - mariebelle chocatesNutcracker Box Courtesy of ©MarieBelle New York

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 6. What are three never-miss events on your calendar?

The Armory Show;

Art Basel in Miami Beach, Florida; and

Summer at Lincoln Center.

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7. What are your three favorite locations in the city you reside in?

SoHo;

West Village; and

Central Park West.

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8. What are your three favorite restaurants?

Le Bernardin by Eric Ripert;

La Grenouille; and

Nobu.

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Book set - MarieBelle ChocaltesBook Gift Set Courtesy of ©MarieBelle New York

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9. What about your three favorite bars?

Bemelmans Bar at Carlyle;

King Cole Bar at the St. Regis; and

Les Boissons Bar at the Baccarat Hotel.

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10. What has been your best New York moment? What about the worst?

It was at New York City Center after watching a performance by Russian Red Army Choir. I had a date that night; however, he had to leave just before the end of the show. As I was exiting the show, there was a gentleman exiting next to me. I was heading towards the street and he kept at my pace. At that point, he said hello and we started discussing the performance. At first, he seemed like a “vintage man,” wearing 1970s glasses, hair to his shoulders, but the way he looked brought a smile to my face. He looked unique, “like an artist” and sounded very smart. He invited me over for coffee, which I couldn’t accept because my date was waiting for me at a restaurant.  We exchanged numbers and the rest was history.

My worst moment was September 11, 2001, as for most.

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11. Name your go-to: 

a. Outfit: Pants with turtleneck bodysuit

b. Fragrance: Carnal Flower (Frederic Malle)

c. Movie: The Notebook

d. Book: Love in the Time of Cholera

e. TV show: Game of Thrones

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12. Name your favorite vacation spot, and the hotel you stay at while there. What makes these spots special?

Il San Pietro di Positano in Italy and Hotel Cesar Augustus in Capri, Italy.

Both of these hotels are located in the perfect settings to view the beautiful deep blue water of the Amalfi Coast. In the afternoons I love watching the most beautiful sunset anyone would ever see.

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Ricardo Rivera
Maribel Lieberman Courtesy of ©MarieBelle New York; Photo by Ricardo Rivera

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13. What are your three most played songs?

“Nisi Dominus RV 608” composed by Antonio Vivaldi by Philippe Jaroussky;

“Cheek to Cheek” by Fred Astaire; and

“Fly Me to The Moon” by Frank Sinatra.

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14. What are three items you couldn’t live without?

Blow dryer;

cardigan; and

lipstick.

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15. If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be?

Jesus Christ.

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16. What is something people might not know about you?

I am very passionate, sometimes TOO passionate about the work that I do.

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17. When did you feel like you had “made it” professionally?

When I arrived in Japan at one of the best department stores and there was a live size picture of myself along with my story.

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5 Gouttes de chocolat (Photo Credit – ©MarieBelle New York) COPYRIGHT CLEAREDGouttes de Chocolat Courtesy of ©MarieBelle New York

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18. Do you have any advice for those aspiring to work in your industry?

Investigate the market and learn the industry very well before going into a business.

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19. What changes do you think your industry will undergo in the next 5-10 years?

There will be increased consumption of chocolate. China is a big country, and their palates are starting to welcome chocolate.

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20. Is there anything else you’d like to share, discuss or promote?

I believe that if we are given opportunities in life, we must not forget to give in return to others.

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Ricardo Rivera
Lead-In Image – Maribel Lieberman Courtesy of ©MarieBelle New York; Photo by Ricardo Rivera

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PHOTO CREDITS

All Images Courtesy of ©MarieBelle New York; Portraits of Maribel Lieberman by Photographer Ricardo Rivera

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