Need an excuse in indulge? Here’s you answer: Chocolate is like wine these days. It tingles and smoothes the senses, it has undertones and overtones, hints of this and whiffs of that. It’s not just cocoa, sugar, and butter anymore, but needs to flirt with percentages, sea salt, cayenne and bacon. The best New York City chocolatiers here will satisfy your endorphin-producing choco receptors and also tweak the traditional take on this divine food. By Anna Van Lenten
The chocolate covered Cheerios at Jacques reinforce the notion that when it comes to the cocoa bean, we need not put away childish things. The chocolate itself blooms in the mouth with a singular, creamy intensity—and, then the Cheerio succumbs in a lovely miniature avalanche of crunch. Other goodies here: Bags of dark chocolate discs are perfect for home baking and popping in one’s mouth. Truffles melt in your mouth. Dark chocolate bark, with whole roasted pistachios, almonds and hazelnuts is a feast.
39 Clarkson Street
Since 1937, this family run, venerable Village factory has created morsel after morsel of champion, panned chocolate candy. Credited with inventing the chocolate-covered espresso bean and the liquid center cordial, Koppers also produces incomparable caramels, mints, layered chocolate with bits of nuts and liqueurs, and other delectables in all manner of shapes and likenesses (fish, shells and lentils). Its Savouries section should be plumbed.
Maison du Chocolat
The sophistication and depth of flavor of this chocolate garners lavish accolades. This is a high-end, white-glove, extravagant yet restrained destination for superb, velvety chocolate. Their truffles are masterful, the liquor-filled chocolates frightfully good. Specialties here are the pralines and ganaches. There are upwards of 35 varieties of candy to explore, and seasonal concoctions always delight.
New York’s only bean-to-bar chocolate factory’s got chops. Sleek, dark-only, rich bars wrapped in gold foil are like Wonkas for grown ups. Using single origin beans means the bars are flavorful and very smooth—they’re polished and refined for 72 hours. The relatively small selection means you can really get to know them all. The Dominican Republic bar with almonds and sea salt could become a fetish and the dark chocolate with cocoa nibs tingles the senses.
Roni Sue’s Chocolates
Knows for its bacon chocolate bar, Roni Sue departs in other ways from traditional French-style chocolates. There’s not the same avidness for smooth texture here, or for molded chocolates. Instead, palates are pleased with unique flavor profiles such as banana and cherry fruit-filled chocolates, addictive buttercrunch chocolates, the Zydecho (spicy hot marzipan filling), and “Down the Hatch,” which includes toffee and subtle spice.
Scharffen Berger (Now Closed)
473 Amsterdam Avenue
Stellar creations at this small-batch chocolatier fall on the darker end of the spectrum with one exciting exception: the 41% Cacao Extra Rich Milk Chocolate with its hint of caramel comes out intense and milky at once. Meanwhile, the dark bars have a rich, deep, complicated profile—and the baking chocolate will fool-proof anything you’re making at home.
Vosges outputs a wild choco-fest of deliciousness, which for the adventurous explorer repays tenfold. The quality of the chocolate is out of this world, and gets paired with marvelous things that wind up expanding your notion of what chocolate is for. Try the Black Pearl (ginger, wasabi, black sesame), Oaxaca, Naga (sweet Indian curry, coconut) and Red Fire (ancho, chipotle and cinnamon). The Mo’s Bacon Bar and Creole Bar, in dark and milk will tantalize the strongest willpower.