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FIKA's chocolat factory is located in Tribeca, South Manhattan.
FIKA's chocolat factory is located in Tribeca, South Manhattan.

People

Håkan and the chocolate factory in New York City

Six years ago, Håkan Mårtensson left Sweden for New York. Today he is a prize-winning chocolatier, who runs FIKA’s chocolate factory in Tribeca, South Manhattan. Here he shares with us some of his favorite things about New York.

Chocolatier Håkan Mårtensson outside FIKA.After several years working as a confectioner in Stockholm and in the Swedish culinary team, Skåne’s Håkan Mårtensson took his passion for chocolate out into the world. In 2009, he moved to New York, where he became part of FIKA, the successful Swedish coffee-house concept that now has 13 cafés in Manhattan. Håkan runs the chocolate factory in Tribeca, which supplies chocolate to all the cafés, as well as selected food stores around Manhattan.

What’s the best thing about living in New York?

“It’s New York, city of opportunities. No two days are the same and you never know who you will meet or what is going to happen.”

What comes as the biggest surprise to Scandinavians, do you think, when visiting New York for the first time?

“I think the pace of life and the high-rise buildings surprise people. Even if they have seen it in films and on TV before, it still takes them by surprise.  And that you walk a lot more than you thought you would when you get here.”

What would you say are the tourist traps that most Scandinavians fall into when they come to New York?

“The biggest mistake most of them make is that they never stray far from Times Square. My tip is to stay elsewhere and take a look around some other places to get more of a feel for the real city. The Lower East Side and SoHo are great places to stay and spend time.”

It was your job that brought you to New York, but what do you do when you’re not working?

“I like watching movies. There’s a great movie theater at 84th and Broadway. I also like to try out new restaurants. The Cannibal is a new favorite of mine, a ‘beer and butcher’ restaurant on 29th Street, between Park Avenue and Madison Avenue.”

When is New York at its best?

“In May, without a doubt, because then the winter has gone at last. It’s nicely warm, and everyone is a little bit happier than usual as soon as the weather improves.”

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