Craving Chocolate in New York? Don’t Miss These 15 Chocolate Finds!

Comments Off on Craving Chocolate in New York? Don’t Miss These 15 Chocolate Finds!

For chocolate lovers, you know what its like to be craving a hand-made dark chocolate filled with some exquisite sauce, spice or liqueur. I recently had a craving for a small truffle mixed with a flourless chocolate cake. I didn’t have the exact thing in mind, but I would know it when I saw it. How hard could it be to find such a thing in New York?

I was near Little Italy, not far from Canal Street when the craving started. I found a number of little cafes that had chocolate cakes, ice cream, gelato, biscotti and even homemade brownies, none of which would end the craving I was after. And so, cold day and all, I repositioned my scarf, stuffed my bare paws into my jack pockets and made my way into China Town.

Not their thing I discovered, not that I didn’t already know this, but when you’re desperate, you start to imagine that there WILL be a French chocolate boutique shop in the middle of China Town even though you’ve never seen one before in any international city you’ve ever been to.

And so, I headed for the trendy lower East Side, which of course includes the East Village. I also made my way through the West Village for once I started on this mission, I decided that even if I fixed the craving, I wanted to know where they all were in case the craving returned on some future random trip to New York. Why not save energy next time around I thought?

For starters, there’s Bond Street Chocolate on 4th Street. While they have chocolate bars, bons bons and handmade truffles featuring unique flavors and spirits like many high-end chocolate shops, what makes them a little different is their group of chocolates they call the Divine Collection. Within this collection includes 24 Carat gold dusted, dark chocolate edible deities….. Buddha, Jesus, Ganesh, Virgin of Guadalupe, Moses and silver dusted dark chocolate skulls. Yes, you can buy and eat chocolate skulls and chocolate Buddhas from the same shop.

Then I discovered Kee’s Chocolates on Thompson Street. Founded by Kee Ling Tong in 2002, Kee’s Chocolates has received accolades from reviewers around the world, as well as locals who told me about the small shop with bon bons galore. They are also known for their maroons, where like their chocolates, they include fresh ingredients and exotic ones from around the world, including yuzu from Japan, sea salt from France, and saffron from Spain.  

On Spring Street, there’s Vosges Chocolates While they are known for their delicious Marchesa Casati Truffle Collection, they also have a wide array of small dark chocolates with exquisite fillings, such as champagne, flowers, chillies, salt and even bacon.

Jacque Torres on the corner of King and Hudson does a number of boxed chocolate at more reasonable prices than many of the other shops.  In addition to boxed assortments which they are more known for, they offer chocolate mixes and chocolate bars as well as hot chocolate, gift baskets and cookbooks.

Marie Belle on Broom Street also does a number of boxed chocolate assortments, albeit it appears that they are higher end than Jacque Torres which seems to offer a lot of milk chocolate, whereas Marie Belle makes a lot of effort to make each dark chocolate square beautifully decorated with flowers and patterns. You can get 16 ganaches for about $45 and 25 pieces for about $60, so a little over a $1 a pop once you up your quantity. And, the presentation and packaging is gorgeous.

Roni Sue on Essex Street has a little funkier style, both in its presentation, image and what they offer. For example, they have tea and honey lollipops, maple and bacon lollipops (correct, that’s not a typo), pig candy, which is chocolate covered bacon, beer crunch, which is beer baked right into the candy. Unusual selections and albeit interesting and who can resist bacon mixed with chocolate, eh? It’s not the place you’d head to if you’re craving a dark flourless chocolate cake however.

Leonida’s Chocolates specialize in Belgian chocolates. Think butter cream assortments, dark and milk chocolate, napolitains, manon blanc/café, chocolate bars, Gianduja, Giantina and Giamanda, Orangettes, and decorative ballotin.

Li-Lac Chocolates was recommended by two local shop owners and while is a location in the West Village which has been an icon there since 1923, they have 3 other locations around the city, including Grand Central Terminal. They don’t use any preservatives (it’s something they tout proudly) and use time-honored techniques.

George Demetrious, the original owner and founder of Li-Lac Chocolates, was a native of Greece who learned the art of chocolate making in France. In 1923, he opened his store at 120 Christopher Street in the heart of Greenwich Village, and applied his chocolate making expertise, using large marble-top tables and copper kettles, perfecting the recipes for confections such as hazelnut truffle squares, fudge, assorted creams, caramels, butter crunch and others.

Martine’s Chocolates are not based on the lower east side but rather the upper east side, but I learned about their shop when I started asking around. Martine’s Chocolates are gourmet chocolates, handmade fresh daily, right in front of the customers, by Martine’s chefs chocolatiers. They use Belgian Callebaut couverture chocolate, French butter and fresh American cream.

I spent a significant chunk of time in L’atelier du Chocolate on Prince Street. They had such a large collection of  dark, milk and white chocolates, including unusual flavors that she encouraged me to try, like Balsamic, Citrus, Floral, where you could get a dark chocolate filled with geranium infused almond paste, rosewater, orange flower water, lavender and honey essence with almonds and so on. 

This is a return to the origins of black chocolate, powerful and full-bodied yet tender with the finest geographic and botanic pedigree, silky butter cream filling with exquisite cacao flower. An ultra chic line for those who believe in purity perfection, authenticity an all things natural. And it tastes natural, fresh and original.

She had me venture out of my normal “loves” and order dark chocolate with citrusy Earl Grey tea, jasmine and aromatic thyme. They also had a peppery Vietnamese mint and a Thai lemongrass infused dark chocolate, but I didn’t try either one.  

My favorite was a chocolate called Intrigue, which was infused with salty nori and sweet mango. (yes nori :-). You could also order more traditional flavors such as espresso, rasberry and coffee, or pistachio and praline, hazelnut and tiramisu.

Their spiced line includes golden saffron, coriander with ganache, fresh ginger with strawberry (I should have tried this one) and dark chocolate with wasabi.

They even had a curry with almonds dark chocolate and one infused with anise and pungent cinnamon. (2 separate flavors). This was probably my favorite out of all the stops with Xocolatti on 172 Prince Street being close behind.









Xocolatti woos you in with his extremely decadent decorations – simple, crisp and yet fashionable almost in Louis Vitton style. Their website is equally creative and high class as is the quality of their photography. The chocolate is exquisite but very expensive (note a little over $4 for a very small bite) and as you’re paying up for what is already a premium, they charge you between $2-3 for packaging. Yes, really.

When I asked about it, he said, “that’s what they taught him to do in Finance classes at school.” Really I thought? Don’t let the customer know or feel that extra cost is what I was thinking — from a PR perspective, I thought it was tacky to charge the customer after paying so much per piece compared to many other equally decadent shops in the city. (even though the packaging was top notch, absorb it into your marketing so the customer doesn’t feel it). He also said that he never gives samples away, ever.
















Like L’atelier du Chocolate (which was half the price), they had unusual handmade options, most notably their unique assortment of truffle flavors. A few of them I tried were the olive oil basil truffle, the orange tangerine infused truffle, dark chocolate with deep green baby pistachios from Iran, which was made from a blend of paste and milk chocolate. I also tried the rose cardamon truffle, which is dark chocolate infused with rose petal compote.

Nice, but not as delicious as the sake truffles, which was inspired by Awamori, a sake unique to Okinawa and distilled from Thai-style rice. The last two worth mentioning are the champagne captured in a dark chocolate ganache and passion fruit infused into a milk chocolate ball.










While on a mission to find flourless cake, the noted Best Chocolate Cake in the World shop (aka Choco Bolo) on Spring Street had quite possibly the worst piece of chocolate out of everything I tried over three days. Interestingly enough, their coffee is quite good.

A few doors down on the same street is Ceci Cela, where Chef Laurent Dupal’s core product line is the essence of French pastry and includes croissants, pains aux chocolats, chaussons aux pommes, pains aux raisins, and brioches known collectively as viennoiserie. Using only 100 percent pure butter, the best flours and complimentary ingredients, he creates these classic French breakfast pastries in both the traditional sizes, and as elegant miniatures so that his customers can sample the full viennoiserie line at a single sitting. Try the black forest cake and the mini chocolate mousse. (Yum!).

Below is La Bella Ferrara Cafe in Little Italy, not far from the East Village. They are not necessarily known for their chocolate cakes and desserts and I didn’t try any of the cakes below, but wanted to include a snapshot to give you a flavor for the kind of “dessert cases” I found throughout Little Italy.

If interested in going on a luxury chocolate tour, check out a site called Sweet Walks.

Note: I have never taken an official tour. The above was a discovery of shops through asking around (and asking around a bit more) and walking up and down every alley and street I could find, using Foursquare, Google, and local shop owners to find the next shop).

Photo #1: Bond Street Chocolate

Photo #2: Marie Belle.

Photo #3: L’atelier du Chocolate on Prince Street.
Photo #4: L’atelier du Chocolate.
Photo #5: Xocolatti.
Photo #6: Xocolatti.
Photo 7: La Bella Ferrara Cafe.
Read More Share

Recent Author Posts

Join Our Community

Connect On Social Media

Most Popular Posts

We Blog The World

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!