Photo credit clockwise: Adrian Mueller/Casse Cou, Jessica Minghi/Borough Chocolates, Jessica Minghi/Borough Chocolates, Chocolate Noise.
It doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day to crave chocolate. But the sugar-coated holiday certainly provides a good excuse to indulge. Far beyond the red-wrapped drugstore box, creating the sweet (or bitter) treat is now recognized as a craft all its own. Chocolate purveyors range from the old-fashioned to the eco-conscious to makers who hand-mix exotic ingredients and flavors. If you’re really hooked, you can make an event of it at a chocolate-themed restaurant, factory tour, or private tasting. Whether you’re looking for a last-minute gift for someone special or just a sweet snack, the New York City establishments listed here have something for every chocolate lover–and you can order online or visit the source right in your borough.
The Heartbreaker from Borough Chocolates: Send a special custom note to a loved one, smash and eat house-made candies inside. Photo credit: Jessica Minghi/Borough Chocolates.
Aigner has been making New York City sweeter from Forest Hills since 1930. The current owners still use antique tools (in addition to modern ones) to make a mouth-watering selection of chocolates as well as cakes, cookies, and chocolate-coated fruit, Oreos, Twinkies, and more. Order online or stop in for a coffee or hot chocolate.
Another Queens institution is Schmidt’s Candy, a nearly century-old confectionery in Woodhaven. Opened by German immigrant Frank Schmidt in the 1920s, Schmidt’s Candy is a third-generation-owned shop that still offers handmade chocolates and candies using original recipes. Perfect for Valentine’s Day, the confectionary is offering a heart-shaped assortment box of chocolates starting at $16 for a half-pound, chocolate-covered strawberries from $13, and all sorts of chocolate-covered goodies by the pound.
Long recognized as one of the city’s best places to find mouth-watering, hand-crafted, and dipped goodies, Kee’s Upper West Side shop was founded in 2002 by Kee Ling Tong. Here, omakase goes beyond sushi: You can get chef’s choice boxes–or choose from dozens of eye-popping confections from bars and bark to macarons, bonbons, and truffles.
Stick With Me Sweets
Working in small, handmade batches, Susanna Yoon, former chocolatier at Per Se, serves up exotically infused delicate button-sized bonbons with flavors like banoffee pie, berry sherbet, champagne bubbles as well as the more traditional dark chocolate fudge, raspberry caramel, strawberry nougat and sea salt caramel. The resulting “books” filled with delicate bites–available in this tiny Nolita shop as well as online–are as much a joy to look at as to consume.
Photo credit: Ty Mecham/Food52
Premium chocolatier L.A. Burdick is known for its beyond-adorable candy critters, including chocolate mice and penguins, in addition to a full array of goodies in all shapes and sizes. Order up an adorable infestation or stop by their Soho shop to gaze at the whole delicious menagerie.
Photo credit: Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate is the product of a culinary partnership between chef Gabriel Kreuther and pastry chef Marc Aumont. The concept: The best quality ingredients and finest craftsmanship served in beautiful, thoughtful packaging. The Bryant Park shop closed in February 2020, but production has continued next door at Gabriel Kreuther restaurant, and the website offers express shipping nationwide as well local delivery and pickup.
Founder Maribel Lieberman opened her first chocolate shop in Soho and still calls the neighborhood home. As one of the most beloved sweet shops in the city, the chocolates you’ll find here are handmade from the single-origin cacao, resulting in rich, complex, and unique flavors. Packaging is uncommonly beautiful, too–and the Valentine’s Day offerings here are some of the sweetest around.
Photo credit: Adrian Mueller/Casse Cou
Artisanal chocolaterie Casse-Cou Chocolate in the East Village is a collaboration between the Matthew Kenney Cuisine team and chef Sebastian Brecht. You’ll find 100 percent plant-based chocolate infused with botanical ingredients and bold flavors. Check out the Valentine’s Day Chocolate Box and a selection of bespoke bars created especially for the February love-fest.
Photo credit: Jessica Minghi/Borough Chocolates.
This boutique Greenpoint chocolatier specializes in hand-painted bonbons made in small batches. Founder Jessica Minghi spent a decade in restaurants and fine dining–then turned the pandemic into an opportunity to pursue her passion. Her perfectly-formed bite-sized treats are as fabulous to behold as they are to give, receive, and devour, with special goodies for Valentine’s Day.
Photo courtesy of Jacques Torres Chocolates
Since 2000, Jacques Torres–A.K.A. Mr. Chocolate–has been sharing his chocolate creations through what has grown to a mini-empire of shops around the city. After relocating from France and working as a pastry chef at Le Cirque, he devoted himself to chocolate full time. Torres previously told 6sqft in an interview; “The tagline of our company is real. Real is my promise to you. That means that if you find a chocolate with raspberry flavor, we add real raspberry to the chocolate. And that goes for everything—the nuts, the coffee, the alcohol.”
At this Red Hook factory, small batches of unroasted cocoa beans from single-origin cacao are stone-ground into bars flecked with pink sea salt, infused with cask-aged bourbon, and marbled with maple and nibs, to name just a few.
Fantasizing about chocolate pizza? It’s a reality here, along with a seemingly endless cornucopia of confection that’s available for parties and events or in any size at this Staten Island sweet shop. From edible images to gourmet chocolates in every imaginable form–and the pizza–make this classic candy outlet a resource to be reckoned with.
Founded in 1911, this old-school chocolate factory offers tours so you can see the origins of the delicious treats available at the family-owned establishment. Of course, you can just take their word for it and order up a box of Love Bugs, Fancy Fins, or Sweet Swans.
Photo courtesy of Chocbar Cortes.
Known for its rich and delicious hot chocolate, Chocolate Cortés is a favorite in Puerto Rican and Dominican households. The Caribbean-based bean-to-bar chocolate manufacturing company chose the South Bronx as a home base for offering unique chocolate-based cocktails and cuisine in addition to their innovative products. It’s the perfect way to combine a romantic date with your favorite treat.
If disco strawberries are more your jam, this family-owned Bronx business will not disappoint. In addition to chocolate-covered sparkly fruit, you’ll find supplies to make your own confections.
Photo courtesy of Kahkow
Tastings, pairings, tours, & events
If your love of chocolate really knows no bounds, why not make an event of it? These establishments take the taste of cacao in all its forms to another level with tastings, pairings, and more.
DIY types and budding pastry chefs can learn to make chocolates at the Dominican Republic-based Kahkow, whose distinctive recipes raised the bar in the gourmet chocolate industry by being the world’s first to produce certified organic chocolate at the place of origin. The Brooklyn store offers factory tours and live demos so you can learn how to make their signature sweets.
Photo courtesy of Kings County Distillery.
A Valentine’s Tour with Chocolate Pairing at Kings County Distillery promises a special evening tour of the Distillery with a behind-the-scenes opportunity to learn more about the “science and magic of mashing, fermentation and pot distillation.” Following the tour is a whiskey tasting with chocolate pairings from Brooklyn-based Beyond Good Chocolate.
Photo courtesy of Chocolate Noise
Chocolate Noise offers private and public chocolate tasting classes and events featuring award-winning artisan chocolate from local makers. The woman-owned “social enterprise obsessed with craft chocolate” offers corporate events, holiday parties, and private small-group tastings. Find out more here.
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