The 5 Best Chocolates in NYC
Look, I love candy. I love black licorice Jelly Bird Eggs and those off-brand foil-wrapped bunnies full of chalky peanut butter and when Cadbury Eggs go on sale the Monday after Easter. But I’m also a New Yorker, and -- according to the IRS -- a grown-up. So I’ve got a lot of options beyond the candy aisle at Duane Reade to fill my Easter basket.
If you’re also celebrating adult Easter this week, the city has some of the best chocolate shops to choose from. I’ve rounded up my five favorites for your Easter basket and beyond -- but you should still stop by Duane Reade on the 22nd for some deeply-discounted Peeps.
First opened at 120 Greenwich Street in 1923, Li-Lac is New York’s oldest chocolate shop. In the nearly 100 years it’s been serving up classic chocolates, it’s grown to five locations. My favorite is the oversized shop in Industry City; the schlep is more than worth the chance to gawk at the chocolatiers through gigantic windows. (Plus, that incredible smell!) If you really want to go big for Easter, Li-Lac’s $295 solid chocolate Easter egg weighs sixteen pounds, serves 125 people, and under no circumstances will be referred to here as “egg-stra.”
These bonbons -- as shiny as sea glass and spectacularly packaged -- make for an especially artsy Easter basket. Lucky for us, they taste as good as they look. Best-selling flavors include the Kalamansi Meringue Pie -- filled with a sour Southeast Asian citrus -- and the New York, New York, featuring chocolate-covered pretzels in a peanut butter praline and topped with sea-salted caramel. For Easter, they’re offering milk and dark chocolate eggs filled with cereal, malt balls, and chocolate pearls -- all with their signature shiny finish.
See’s might be synonymous with San Francisco, but we’ve been #blessed with three locations right here in New York City: Inside Macy’s, at the Hudson News in Grand Central, and on West 8th Street. Its assorted boxes of chocolate, wrapped in seasonal Easter paper or charming white packaging, score a zillion points higher on the “I Care About You” scale than a box of Russell Stovers. Even better: Pack a custom box with all your partner’s favorite flavors to prove you listen when they talk.
This confectionary, which started on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, has a flagship shop on Madison Avenue. Try the Nama -- a creamy, singular sweet halfway to custard -- in “Bitter” dark chocolate and Hennessy, the “Au Lait” milk chocolate and cream, or the famous “Maccha,” flavored with white chocolate, green tea, and cherry brandy. For a cool $99, ROYCE’ offers a beautiful box of six Nama flavors gift-wrapped to perfection: A ready-made Easter basket that’ll knock any bunny’s (sorry, couldn’t resist that one) tail off.
Another New York original, Kee’s was opened in 2002 by Kee Ling Tong, a former Wallstreeter with a daydream. Known for the subtle, sophisticated flavor of her truffles -- including balsamic vinegar, rose petals, black sesame, fennel, tamarind, and pepper -- Kee’s is ideal for an adults-only Easter basket. If your Easter bunny likes to get buzzed, choose the Cognac or Champagne truffles: They’re complex and boozy, just right for celebrating a rabbit who breaks into your house while you sleep.
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