November 30, 2004

Chocolates Online

Andrew Samwick writes:

Vox Baby: E-Commerce: [T]ake a guess at the fraction of all retail sales that are conducted via E-Commerce. Since you are reading a blog (and a rather obscure one at that), I'll bet that you guessed too high. It's still only 2 percent, at about $17.6 billion out of $916.5 billion last quarter. The growth rate for E-Commerce is about 2-3 times the pace for total retail sales, but even though that sounds like a lot, it will take a while for the E-Commerce share to become very important in the aggregate. (Simple extrapolation of the last five quarters of growth in each series would get to an 8 percent share in another 10 years.)

Let me give the process a boost. My favorite on-line merchant, at least in the area of food, is Jacques Torres Chocolates. Located in the area of Brooklyn known as DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), this guy makes the best chocolates I have ever tasted. If you cannot make it there in person, hit the link on the sidebar and treat yourself right this holiday season.

And the link:

Mr. Chocolate: Jacques Torres welcomes you to his chocolate factories. Jacques Torres Chocolate in Brooklyn and Jacques Torres Chocolate Haven in Manhattan. He specializes in fresh, hand-crafted chocolates free of preservatives and artificial flavors. Chocolates are available for both retail and wholesale customers. Step inside for a delicious visit.

Posted by DeLong at November 30, 2004 01:17 PM | TrackBack

I understand dark chocolate is good for your health now--helps the blood vessels expand or something like that. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I will of course try Mr. Torres' Chocolates--but I've never found anything that beats the Teuscher champagne truffle.

Posted by: emt at November 30, 2004 07:31 PM

emt - Oooh, Teuscher. I brought home quite a bit of Teuscher from Zurich two years ago when the dollar was strong against the Swiss Franc.

M. Torres has a Food Network show, where he does some things that are doable by the home chocolatier, and others that are not. Nonetheless, friends of mine from Brooklyn still ask me to bring them chocolate from See's. Perhaps the fact that it's a whole lot less expensive than the delights from M. Torres' DUMBO emporium. Nonetheless, I may still stick my head into his shop the next time I'm in Brooklyn.

Wow, epicurean chocolates in Brooklyn - I never thought I'd see the day.

Posted by: LarryB at November 30, 2004 07:52 PM

That's alot of sales tax free stuff.

E-bay is snail-mailing catalogues of enticing non-existant items to potential site users hoping to net (hmm) new customers. NYT Nov. 22.

Posted by: jen at November 30, 2004 09:05 PM

Try this for on-line chocolate:

Posted by: Richard Green at December 1, 2004 09:41 AM

It is never a really good idea to expect growth on the internet to be particularly linear. And really, online shopping does not necessarily mean you purchase something online, it sometimes means you figure out what to purchase, then walk into a brick-and-mortar to actually make the purchase. I do this all the time at Home Depot/Lowes type stores. Car purchases are another example. No one buys cars online, but many many many people research their cars online.

So what do you call that, when someone looks at a webpage to make a determination on a purchase, but purchases it in a store. Is that comparable to a catalog? Plain od advertisement?

Posted by: Chance the Gardener at December 1, 2004 09:43 AM

I hate to be pedantic (who am I kidding? I love it), but it's "District Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass."

Posted by: Hoyt Pollard at December 1, 2004 10:05 AM

"Free Rider"
Is what they would call it if you researched product info online and then went buy the product at a store different than the one who has the online site with the available research

Posted by: philip at December 1, 2004 10:31 AM


The Blog and comments are very sluggish even on the fastest of internet links. Thought you should know, if you do not.

Posted by: anne at December 1, 2004 11:42 AM

So, when does the French military's mis-management of the Ivory Coast crisis show up in chocolate pricing?

Posted by: pouncer at December 1, 2004 12:02 PM

Hoyt, I believe that "Down Under" is the more widely accepted form. Considering that DUMBO emerged despite the city's active efforts to prevent it through rigid zoning, "District" sounds way too formal.

Posted by: LarryB at December 1, 2004 12:27 PM

Well, since Brad is in Berkeley and we're discussing chocolates, I have to tell about Joseph Schmidt. Biting into what they call a slick is a divine experience.

Posted by: xyz1000 at December 1, 2004 01:02 PM

The French Are Snared, but This Struggle Is Ivoirian

DAKAR, Senegal - The news reports streaming out of Abidjan, Ivory Coast's once shining metropolis, seem like a throwback to a bygone era: white men and women cowering in their homes, black men and women rampaging through the streets, European soldiers swooping down in helicopters and plucking Europeans to safety.

It could have been Congo, circa 1964, when Belgian paratroopers swooped down on the Congo River town of Stanleyville, now Kisangani, to evacuate terrified Europeans during a nationalist rebellion.

There has never been any Algeria-like struggle against French colonialism in Ivory Coast, nothing even approaching the nationalist movements in Congo to shake off Belgian rule. In any case, the so-called Young Patriots who have led the violent demonstrations against the French in Abidjan this week were, for the most part, born well after independence from France was achieved more than 40 years ago.

Yet the weight of history is being used as a potent weapon to rally popular sentiment for the sitting president, Laurent Gbagbo, and against the former colonial ruler, which government supporters accuse of supporting Mr. Gbagbo's rebel foes. "Thank you for having brought failure to Jacques Chirac's coup d'état," the fiery pro-government leader, Charles Blé Goudé, announced on state television, according to Reuters, in a message directed at the pro-Gbagbo mobs that surrounded the president's house on Monday.

But the hostility toward the French obscures a greater issue: the real identity politics that is driving the conflict in Ivory Coast. That is a contest that pits African against African, ethnic groups from the north against ethnic groups from the south, landowners against migrant workers who want to be landowners.

Like so many conflicts in West Africa, the one in Ivory Coast is in large part a contest for the country's most valuable asset: the land on which cocoa is grown. Making it particularly entrenched are issues that were never fully resolved at independence: Who is a citizen of Ivory Coast, who can rule, who can own land?

Posted by: anne at December 1, 2004 01:50 PM
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