Looking beyond the usual box of chocolate for your Valentine this year? Check out these five unusual chocolate confections made in New York. By Jessica Allen.
Sold out of a tiny storefront in Soho that’s decorated with interlocking rows of Xocolatti-branded boxes, these slivers and slabs aren’t your run-of-the-mill chocolate. Instead, they offer contrasts and conundrums, sharp angles and smooth finishes, full of cashews and saffron, Iranian rose and masala, pistachio and burnt caramel. There’s not a uniform bar in the bunch.
More than 25 years ago, Rhonda (aka Roni-Sue) Kave began making sweet treats as a hobby, after taking an adult education class. In 2007, she opened a small store in Essex Street Market, where she sells such goodies as beer-and-pretzel popcorn, chili-lime lollipops, and lots and lots of chocolate, including truffles and pig candy, fried bacon dipped in milk or dark chocolate. She makes everything on site, using locally sourced products.
On its website, Li-Lac proudly claims to be “stubbornly old-fashioned since 1923.” Its Greenwich Village storefront sells all kinds of concoctions, from twee bon bons to thick barks to fudge, chews, and squares. But we’re especially enamored of its flavorful takes on New York City landmarks, including the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. They come in milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate, all made fresh to order.
With two locations in Brooklyn, The Chocolate Room is rapidly becoming The Chocolate Rooms. As you’d expect, the focus here is on chocolate, from a signature chocolate layer cake that Oprah adores to milk chocolate, sea salt, and peanut butter cookies to chocolate pecan pie to hot cocoa, in dark, spiced, or classic. For an unusual, decadent, delicious bite, try the cookie chip chocolate, a hunk of chocolate chip cookie dough dipped in Belgian chocolate.
Can chocolate save the world? Fine & Raw thinks so. From their Brooklyn factory, the folks behind this company make “sustainable design for the tongue.” Their organic creations utilize low heat techniques, which they believe keeps the chocolate healthier and yummier, and don’t have sugar, additives, or dairy. In other words, taking a bite of a bon bon or the mesquite bar, flavored with yacon roots, mesquite pods, and lucuma fruits, is almost like eating a bag of baby carrots. Almost.