On a recent trip to Manhattan we put together a little tour of some chocolate stores. The first two are on the Upper West side, while the next four require a subway trip from there to Canal Street (and some walking).
The first thing to hit you when you enter the store is the smell, it smells like dark chocolate. The store itself was one of the larger ones we visited, with a coffee bar and ice cream counter. There are huge stacks of delicious looking chocolate chip cookies and a decent selection of individual chocolates. The truffles here were excellent, thoroughly infused but not overpowering. The spiced wine and ginger stood out.
This was a smaller store with an elegant display. N9t surprisingly, the chocolates here are clearly Belgian–mild and buttery without being overly rich, with plenty of hazelnut varieties. They were extremely tasty and satisfying, though, with perhaps the best mouthfeel of any chocolates we tried, and quite addictive. Once we’d gotten about halfway through our 1/2 lb. box, though, we started tiring somewhat of the flavor similarity.
80 Thompson St.
Kees was the smallest chocolatier we visited. We’d like to say small / independent is better, but we were not that impressed overall. The woman at the counter said the ganache infusions were “subtle,” but they were so understated that the primary flavors of most truffles were chocolate and (a bit too much) butter. They have quite a good selection of macarons, and the salted caramel (Jonathan’s selection) was wonderful. I had lavender, which actually could have used a bit more subtlety.
484 Broome St.
MariBelle is known for making some of the most ornate chocolates in the city. There were detailed, colorful paintings on each truffle, giving them an air of edible art. But they were the priciest on our tour (about $5 each) and we didn’t feel like paying that much for a single chocolate. We did buy a 10 oz. tin of hot chocolate, though, and our samples of the chocolate bark (dark almond toffee and milk pistachio) were excellent. The hot chocolate was very good, mostly just chocolate shavings rather than cocoa, and plenty of different flavors (including spicy) are available.
380 Broome St.
While not technically a chocolate store, our stop into Papabubble was fascinating. Two guys in insulated gloves were rolling colored, flavored hot sugar syrup, carefully molding them into candy. The candies we sampled had a clean, natural flavor, and the spicy mango red chili had quite a kick. The prices are also very reasonable, and we picked out a mixed bag of flavored candies for less than $5.
248 Broome St.
Once again this isn’t a chocolate shop, but there were plenty of chocolate goodies at this vegan cupcake outpost. Our favorite was the chocolate cupcake with mint frosting, which was decadent and flavorful but not overly rich, perhaps due to the vegan ingredients. The chocolate frosted donut and cake chocolate donut hole were also good but not as noteworthy.
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