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May 18, 2005
Celia Sin-Tien Cheng

Like haute cuisine or the making of fine wine, the artistry of chocolate making is complex, requiring the utmost dedication. For our first specialty topic, I have chosen to feature the work of artisanal chocolatiers that one can find in New York City. This includes both local and non-local chocolatiers who have storefronts or representation in the City.

Here I offer my top picks in addition to notables that embody the chocolate landscape in New York City.

Note: The pricing and store hours are based on information gathered during Spring 2005, and may be subject to change.

Chocolate - Shell (chocolate mousse) A. Martine's Chocolates

A chocolate bonbon filled with fresh chocolate mousse. No, you don’t understand: FRESH CHOCOLATE MOUSSE! It’s a great dessert made bite-sized, but the danger here is eating too many. These can’t sit for more than 5 days, but who are they kidding, try 5 seconds.

Cherry B. Martine's Chocolates

The Cherry is well composed as the brandy-marinated French cherry perfectly complements the dark chocolate ganache to create a smoothness that whispers tranquility.

Piano C. Martine's Chocolates I am not generally a fan of caramel, but the Piano’s butterscotch caramel has a wonderfully soft and light consistency and is not overly sweet, convincing me how delicious good caramel can be.
Creme Brulee Chocolates D. Kee's Chocolates

The crème brûlée bonbons inspired me to do an entire feature on chocolates. Yes, they’re that good! The chocolates are hexagon shaped with rich, creamy custard crème brûlée inside. They’re not always available, so call ahead to check.

Chocolate Truffles E. La Maison Du Chocolat

The first chocolate I decided to try at La Maison du Chocolat, the plain truffle, immediately struck me because it simply melted in my mouth. They really get the essence of chocolate and have it down right smack to the core. This is what chocolate was meant to be, as delicate and smooth, as beautiful and immediate in all senses of... full article

Fleur D’Orange Pistoles F. Debauve & Gallais

Debauve & Gallais’ signature chocolate is the Fleur d’Orange Pistole. Pistoles, I learned, were created for Queen Marie-Antoinette who wanted a light chocolate snack she could enjoy throughout the day. These thin coins are indeed the perfect chocolate treat to indulge in any time of day. The Fleur d’Orange Pistoles are so... full article

Seasonal Delights G. 7:3 Chocolates

7:3 Chocolates’ flavors are seasonal. Not all chocolates are available year-round. Using seasonal ingredients ensures the freshness and quality of the product you are receiving. This is why these chocolates are unique and delicious. 7:3 Chocolates does not use any artificial ingredients and sources everything from small farms. So... full article

Red Wine Truffle H. Christopher Norman Chocolates

There are Champagne truffles and there are Cognac truffles, so why not red wine truffles? This truffle is infused with the Dean & Deluca Red, a California custom wine blend, by the New York gourmet food specialists. When I first tasted it, I found it a bit unusual, but quickly grew fond of it.

Bistro Bars I. Chocolat Moderne

The Bistro Bars are Chocolat Moderne’s handmade dark-chocolate candy bars. Shaped in an elegant 3×3 square grid, each of the 9 squares is filled with ganache, caramel or praline flavors from the bonbon selection. The design of the squares lets you break apart the squares easily so that you can enjoy them one piece at a time.

The Sesame Samba... full article

Naga J. Vosges Haut-Chocolat

Naga has the largest cult following at Vosges, and I have to admit that I am a member of that cult. The curry flavor works well with the milk chocolate in terms of balance as well as standing out on its own. Other spices seem to get weighed down with chocolate mixtures and can’t express their own flavor, but that is not the case here. The curry is... full article

Chocolates K. Chocolate Bar

What I crave most at Chocolate Bar is the actual store itself. I like sitting and hanging out in their space. It’s a small storefront but one can sit at the bar up front, or get more comfortable in the back where there is a small lounge area. It’s a nice neighborhood joint with a nostalgic feel. Hanging out with an egg cream, the paper and some... full article

Packaging L. Mariebelle

MarieBelle’s packaging is gorgeous. I love their blue and brown identity colors. It’s a joy to visit their website and stores to see the range of products and the packaging. The branding is so well done and the design work so beautiful that you want to reuse the hot chocolate tins and the gift boxes that the bonbons come in. The jewel-box-like... full article

Chocolates M. Teuscher

Teuscher ‘s original champagne truffles are really yummy, made from a mix of milk and dark chocolate, Dom Perignon champagne and powered with confectioners sugar.

Chocolates N. Jacques Torres

Jacques Torres can be likened to the Willy-Wonka of our times. Chocolate Haven particularly resonates with the WW factory concept. The spicy hot chocolate is appropriately named “wicked.”

Chocolates O. Leonidas

Belgian chocolatier founded in 1910 and introduced to NYC in 1991. In addition to the flagship boutique on Madison Avenue, there are three café locations in the Financial district to stop by for a hot drink and a sweet retreat.

Chocolates P. Neuchatel

The Plaza Hotel chocolatier.

Chocolates Q. Neuhaus Chocolates

Belgian behemoth with an enormous selection of high-quality chocolates.

Chocolates R. Black Hound

The East Village patisserie that also makes truffles.

Chocolates S. La Bergamote

A charming Chelsea patisserie with some excellent and very reasonably priced truffles.

Chocolates T. The Sweet Life

This charming Lower East Side candy store has been around for 23 years. There is a large selection of nuts and dried fruits in addition to chocolates. Some chocolates are hand-dipped and others imported.

Hot Chocolate U. City Bakery

The hot chocolate at City Bakery is the standard to which New Yorkers hold this true winter craving. Since the chill kicked in, I’ve been going every day to get my fix of this classic. “A shot” — four ounces — of this rich, thick and dreamy chocolate drink is just the right size to satiate my craving — temporarily, that is — and keep me coming back for more.