Christopher Norman chocolatesPierre Marcolini Coeur FramboiseFauchon Gianduja


by Celia Sin-Tien Cheng
May 18, 2005

Chocolate is happiness. From childhood associations of eating chocolate, to receiving chocolate as a gift signifying passion and devotion, we love to buy, give, receive — and of course, eat chocolates.

For chocolatiers, great pleasure and pride is taken in producing quality chocolates and making them available to others.

For me, chocolate represents a very personal gift. I love searching for exquisite chocolates, picking out a selection, watching them being packaged and then presenting them to friends.

Like haute cuisine or the making of fine wine, the artistry of chocolate making is complex, requiring the utmost dedication. For Cravings’ first specialty topic, I have chosen to feature the work of artisanal chocolatiers that one can find in New York City. This includes both local and non-local chocolatiers who have storefronts or representation in the City.

Here I offer my top picks in addition to notables that embody the chocolate landscape in New York City. There is also a listing of other local chocolatiers’ information.

I am not covering all existing chocolatiers, but providing a guide for anyone who is interested in embarking on a chocolate tasting adventure. Taste is a subjective matter, so I recommend that you go out there and try for yourself to determine your own cravings.

Take a chocolate break!

Note: The pricing and store hours are based on information gathered during Spring 2005, and may be subject to change.

Martine's ChocolatesDebauve and Gallais chocolates


by Celia Sin-Tien Cheng
May 18, 2005

Chocolatier A chocolate artisan; chocolate maker.
Bonbon A chocolate candy with filling of ganache, praline, nougat, caramel or pâte de fruit.
Couverture The chocolate coating, usually made with extra cocoa butter, that forms the shell of the chocolate.
Ganache A chocolate cream mixture made of cocoa, cream, butter or milk.
Truffle Hand-rolled ganache. Truffles were originally named after the fungus delicacy because of the resemblance in shape. Today, the term truffle is used in a broader context, including machine made truffles that lack the irregularities of the hand-rolled ones.
Cacao The tree which produces the fruit called cacao pod. Cacao also references the seed of the pod, the cacao bean, which is used to make cocoa and chocolates.
Cocoa The powder residue left after the cacao butter has been extracted from the cacao solid, mainly used for drinking chocolate.
Cocoa Butter A.k.a. cacao butter; the natural fat in the cocoa bean, which provides the valuable nutritious substance to make chocolate.
Pâte de Fruit Fruit jelly.
Caramel Mixture of sugar, butter, cream or milk.
Praline Roasted almonds or hazelnuts cooked in caramelized sugar, then ground.
Nougat Mixture of nuts and egg white, honey and sugar.

Martine's chocolate mousse bonbonsMartine's cherry bonbonMartine's butterscotch caramel bonbon


by Celia Sin-Tien Cheng
May 18, 2005


chocolate mousse


french cherry marinated in brady & ganache


soft butterscotch caramel

The Shell, a light and fluffy chocolate mousse made from fresh cream, available in both milk and dark chocolate couverture, is my favorite chocolate in town. The Cherry is well composed as the brandy-marinated French cherry perfectly complements the dark chocolate ganache to create a smoothness that whispers tranquility. I am not generally a fan of caramel, but the Piano’s butterscotch caramel has a wonderfully soft and light consistency and is not overly sweet, convincing me how delicious good caramel can be. All three of these are delightful and sinful at the same time.

Click here to read the profile of chocolatier Martine Leventer.

Bloomingdale’s 6th Floor
1000 3rd Ave
@ 59th St
New York, NY 10022

400 E 82nd St
(1st & York Aves)
New York, NY 10028

Made daily on premises

Feeling: Warm, Intricate, Heartfelt


by Celia Sin-Tien Cheng
May 18, 2005

Kee's crème brûlée


The star item of Kee’s selection is definitely the crème brûlée. It’s hard to get your hands on these because they are only made a couple days of the week and they sell out virtually as soon as they are ready. What’s so great about these chocolates?! Imagine you bite into a slightly larger than bite size hexagon-shaped bonbon to find creamy, fresh, custard crème brûlée filling your mouth – Oh! What ecstasy! The custard in this treat is delicate and needs to be eaten quickly to retain its freshness. Kee doesn’t recommend that it sit for more than 48 hours. The truth of the matter is, you can’t help but devour it as soon as she hands it over, so there really is no fear of spoilage. The only spoil-of-the-day is to learn that some other lucky chocolate lover has snagged this heavenly concoction.

Click here to read the profile of chocolatier Kee Ling Tong.

80 Thompson St
(Spring & Broome Sts)
New York, NY 10012

Kee’s Chocolates Midtown
452 5th Ave
(inside HSBC)
@ 40th St
New York, NY 10018
212 525-6099

Made daily on premises

Feeling: Demure, Subtle, Sincere


by Celia Sin-Tien Cheng
May 18, 2005

La Maison du Chocolat truffles


The first chocolate I decided to try at La Maison du Chocolat, the plain truffle, immediately struck me because it simply melted in my mouth. They really get the essence of chocolate and have it down right smack to the core. This is what chocolate was meant to be, as delicate and smooth, as beautiful and immediate in all senses of taste, smell, feel and sight. La Maison du Chocolat’s chocolates have a presence that is inherent in its high mark of quality and elegance, but there is also a sense of lingering nostalgia that stays with you because the experience stays with you. Each piece of chocolate that dissolves in your mouth follows a cycle. There is a nose and a finish, or aftertaste, to each piece. The Andalousie is the most representative of the phases of the La Maison du Chocolat experience: at first you taste the beautifully flowing essence of lemon, which is then followed by the smoothness of the chocolate, but a faint hint of the lemon comes back at the finish and leaves a slight lingering aftertaste to remind you of what it was all about. The lemon zest that is infused in the ganache is so light and fresh, you can visualize the lemon-cream color in your head as you are eating the piece of chocolate, which demonstrates the magic of sensory relations when you open your eyes, the ganache is a deep-brown chocolate color, but the taste is so powerful that it can evoke the bright yellow your taste buds are shouting about.

Click here to read the profile of chocolatier Pascal le Gac.

1018 Madison Ave
(78th & 79th Sts)
New York, NY 10075

30 Rockefeller Center
(5th & 6th Aves)
New York, NY 10112

63 Wall St
(Hanover & Pearl Sts)
New York, NY 10005

Flown in from Paris more than once a week depending on demand

Feeling: Craft, Expert, Classic


by Celia Sin-Tien Cheng
May 18, 2005

Ortrud Münch Carstens artisanal chocolates


Ortrud makes chocolates out of her own passion and uncompromising dedication. These are works of art, made with ingredients of the highest quality and created according to her very high standards. Depending on what is available and what her artistic instincts tell her, she will compose a very beautiful box of her creations, of her own choosing.

I was lucky enough to receive a box filled with two different types of Cognac truffles, one infused with Delamain Très Vénérable Cognac, and the other with Delamain Vesper. As she describes the difference in her own handwriting, Très Vénérable is more refined and sophisticated, while the Vesper is assertive and “edgy.” Both types of truffles take their cues accordingly are potent and magical. Très Vénérable is more subtle and smooth, while the Vesper has a strong kick that then quickly recedes. Two of these little truffles are sufficient to send me to Euphoria land. Unfortunately, this addiction may not be easily sustained due to the high cost and limited production of the goods. All the more reason to want it even more!

Click here to read the profile of chocolatier Ortrud Munch Castens.

Gotham Garden
325 Amsterdam Ave
(75th & 76th Sts)
New York, NY 10023

By Special Order Only

Feeling: Exclusive, Eccentric, Intoxicating


by Celia Sin-Tien Cheng
May 18, 2005

Debauve et Gallais pistoles


Debauve & Gallais’ signature chocolate is the Fleur d’Orange Pistole. Pistoles, I learned, were created for Queen Marie-Antoinette who wanted a light chocolate snack she could enjoy throughout the day. These thin coins are indeed the perfect chocolate treat to indulge in any time of day. The Fleur d’Orange Pistoles are so delightful, with a suggestive hint of orange blossom. The key here is subtlety. It’s as if the chocolate were flirting with you, teasing you with a trace of orange blossom that is ever so faint, but unforgettable. One bite and I was hooked. At $72/lb, they are also the best value at the boutique.

20 E 69th St
(5th & Madison Aves)
New York, NY 10021

Flown in weekly from Paris

Feeling: Imperial, Grand, Extravagant

Debauve & Gallais has been around for over 200 years but only began opening stores outside of France in 2004. The family business is in its 7th generation and they are keen on maintaining their quality and reputation. Once you taste their chocolates you will understand why. These chocolates are truly excellent and represent an artisanal tradition that delivers. From the chocolates to the packaging, logo, and storefront, even to the handling of the chocolates, you know you are getting the real deal. You are not paying for just a name. They do not rely on fancy designs or silk-screened patterns on the chocolates, but solely on the merit of its true quality. Moreover, D&G is not geared towards the sugar-crazed milk chocolate fans. D&G chocolates are dark and bitter. You can even find chocolates made with 99% cocoa. The truffles are so densely rich that you don’t really know what hit you when you eat them.

When it’s good you just know, you can taste the difference. There is no complicated method for this. Simply by going around tasting and comparing, you can tell what excellence is. An educated, trained and sophisticated palate knows the difference immediately. Marketing Director, François Belizaire, tells me how he grew up on M&M’s and how he still loves the peanut ones. True, there are different occasions for everything and sometimes you’re in the mood for the simple and common, other times you want to treat yourself to the best, to the sublime. And that means gourmet chocolates that the French royal court and public have been enjoying for centuries.

My visit to D&G can only be described as truly delightful. It is places like these that remind me of how wonderful New York is, when I can take a walk through Central Park and experience Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s The Gates(which were on display at that time) and stop in at the divine petit chocolatier, Debauve & Gallais, for a small treat to myself. Just a single bonbon or a couple of pistoles will suffice. My palate is satisfied and my soul is rejuvenated and I am ready to enjoy the rest of my walk down 5th Avenue.


by Celia Sin-Tien Cheng
May 18, 2005

7:3 chocolate bonbon


7:3 Chocolates’ flavors are seasonal. Not all chocolates are available year-round. Using seasonal ingredients ensures the freshness and quality of the product you are receiving. This is why these chocolates are unique and delicious. 7:3 Chocolates does not use any artificial ingredients and sources everything from small farms. So depending on the time of year, you could be lucky enough to taste the pomegranate/bittersweet ganache/pistachio paste combo or for spring 2005 it seems that mango in a bittersweet ganache layered atop macadamia paste is about to arrive. So what are you waiting for?

Click here to read the profile of chocolatier Yelena Malcolm.

Online only


Feeling: Charming, Sweet, Flirtatious


by Celia Sin-Tien Cheng
May 18, 2005

Christopher Norman chocolate gift box


There are Champagne truffles and there are Cognac truffles, so why not red wine truffles? This truffle is infused with the Dean & Deluca Red, a California custom wine blend, by the New York gourmet food specialists. When I first tasted it, I found it a bit unusual, but quickly grew fond of it.

Click here to read the profile of chocolatier John Down.

60 New St
(Beaver St & Exchange Pl)
New York, NY 10004

Made daily on premises

Feeling: Friendly, Artistic, Happy


by Celia Sin-Tien Cheng
May 18, 2005

Chocolat Moderne chocolate bars


The Bistro Bars are Chocolat Moderne’s handmade dark-chocolate candy bars. Shaped in an elegant 3×3 square grid, each of the 9 squares is filled with ganache, caramel or praline flavors from the bonbon selection. The design of the squares lets you break apart the squares easily so that you can enjoy them one piece at a time.

The Sesame Samba praline has an exciting crunchy texture and the aroma of the sesame lingers even after you have finished the chocolate. The Havana Heat truffle fills you with just the right kind of fever, and don’t miss La Dolce Grapefruit, Chocolat Moderne’s signature caramel that has a crisp grapefruit taste with a light, gooey caramel texture.

Click here to read the profile of chocolatier Joan Coukos.

27 W 20th St #904
(5th & 6th Aves)
New York, NY 10011

Online, delivery or pick-up

Feeling: Vibrant, Confident, Modern

Credits: Chocolat Moderne photography by Bohdan Peter Rekshynskyj


by Celia Sin-Tien Cheng
May 18, 2005

Vosges Naga bonbon with curry


coconut extract, milk chocolate and curry powder truffle

Naga has the largest cult following at Vosges, and I have to admit that I am a member of that cult. The curry flavor works well with the milk chocolate in terms of balance as well as standing out on its own. Other spices seem to get weighed down with chocolate mixtures and can’t express their own flavor, but that is not the case here. The curry is neither overpowering nor overpowered, but exudes the perfect amount of strength to delight the palate. The coconut extract adds a nice undertone to the mix. A truly wonderful surprise!

Click here to read the profile of chocolatier Katrina Markoff.

132 Spring St
(Greene & Wooster Sts)
New York, NY 10012

1100 Madison Ave
@ 83rd St
New York, NY 10028

Flown in from Chicago weekly, some truffles made on site

Feeling: Hip, Exotic, Energetic

Credits: Vosges photography by Laurie Frankel Photography


by Celia Sin-Tien Cheng
May 18, 2005

Richart chocolates


Food is first and foremost on my mind most of the time, but this is a rare case in which I am not particularly craving any one flavor of the bonbons or the collections but positively crave RICHART’s beautiful designs. And who wouldn’t?! While all the chocolates are eye-candy, the Ultra-Fines Ballotins are the most visually exquisite to me because of their subtlety. These individual, thin, square pieces of mono-origin dark chocolate seem to have only the RICHART logo, the name of the origin and the cacao percentage printed on them, but upon closer examination you can see beautiful cacao leaf patterns printed on like a varnish. Varnishes generally give a shinier texture, a glossy effect, and that’s why it is not really noticeable except under the right lighting. So the Ultra-Fines Tasting Collection not only emphasizes the taste and purity of the origin-specific cacao, but also the extent to which a chocolate can express subtle beauty. The little details and a touch of the unexpected are what make the experience really stand out.

7 E 55th St
(5th & Madison Aves)
New York, NY 10022

Flown in from Lyon

Feeling: Graceful, Designer, Refined

When I think of bonbons with printed designs, RICHART is the first to come to mind. Though many chocolatiers nowadays print patterns on their chocolates, RICHART may have been the first to “design” chocolates this way. But more importantly, they continue to innovate and create designs that raise the bar. Design for RICHART goes much farther than the design on couverture of the chocolates. The stylized white boxes that the chocolates come in, with each chocolate sitting in its own reserved seat, completes the picture. It’s perfection. Being able to make it look so simple and effortless is the sign of true grace.

RICHART bonbons may be purchased by the piece or by specialty gift box, referred to as ballotin. There are several different collections to choose from. These include the Petits Richart Collection, which are adorable chocolates one-third the size of the regular bonbons. There is also the Little Gourmet Collection, in which annual winners of a children’s design competition, hosted by Richart, get their designs printed on the chocolates for this collection.

The Petits RICHART Collection is great for several reasons. One of them being that the size of the bonbons is perfect for chocolate tasting. When you are treated to such delicate chocolates, they should be savored and appreciated, which the Petits RICHART Collection encourages one to do. Another reason is that these mini chocolates are so adorable and precious; it seems to make the artistry of making and eating chocolates an even more refined and special event.

RICHART’s involvement in art promotion is noteworthy. As mentioned, the Little Gourmet Collection holds annual design competition for children around the world to enter. 13 winners are featured on four differently flavored chocolates. The winners’ schools receive donations in art supplies from RICHART in addition to chocolates. What a wonderful way to promote art education!

Also, in the New York boutique the wall space is allotted to exhibiting the work of emerging artists. The boutique is appropriately named “RICHART Gallery,” so for customers who come in to buy chocolates they also have the fortune to gain some exposure to these rising artists’ works.

Since the publication of this article Richart New York has closed.


by Celia Sin-Tien Cheng
May 18, 2005

Chocolate Bar storefront in NYC

What I crave most at Chocolate Bar is the actual store itself. I like sitting and hanging out in their space. It’s a small storefront but one can sit at the bar up front, or get more comfortable in the back where there is a small lounge area. It’s a nice neighborhood joint with a nostalgic feel. Hanging out with an egg cream, the paper and some chocolates in a relaxed atmosphere makes for a pretty good time, at least in my book.

Click here to read the profile of proprietor Alison Nelson.

19 8th Ave
(Jane & W 12th Sts)
New York, NY 10014

Feeling: Alternative, Retro, Mod


by Celia Sin-Tien Cheng
May 18, 2005

Fauchon Gianduja


My favorite at Fauchon is the Gianduja. Gianduja (zhan-DOO-yah) is a hazelnut-flavored chocolate popular in Europe. Fauchon’s Gianduja is a singular piece of this rich creamy chocolate, sans couverture but wrapped in gold foil. The Carré Or is Gianduja with crushed pieces of hazelnuts in the shape of a cube. Two of the most popular chocolates at Fauchon, the Gianduja and Carré Or, can be purchased as a pair in Fauchon’s signature Mini Pink Purse. The Mini Purse is a perfect treat to satisfy the sweet tooth but to, let us say, not overindulge. The Gianduja is so smooth it is the perfect companion to tea or coffee. And while the pink packaging and the purse motif are clearly aimed at a female audience, I would recommend that anyone try the tasty treasures inside.

442 Park Ave
@ 56th St
New York, NY 10022

Flown in from Paris every two weeks

Feeling: French, Selective, Cultured

Fauchon speaks of history and tradition. The little pink boxes and pink purses are as symbolic and recognizeable as Tiffany’s blue or Hérmes’ orange gift boxes. It speaks its own haut vernacular of luxury and grace.

This epicurean emporium opened its doors in Paris in 1886 at La Place de la Madeleine. Today, around the world, Fauchon is known for its high quality French delicacies.

Fauchon’s flagship store on Park Avenue carries award winning pastry chef Florian Boulanger’s selection of pastries, has a large selection of chocolates, and is endowed with their famous Tea Salon.

Fauchon is a true get-away from its external setting. Inside the store, you are almost transposed to Paris and away from the busy Midtown Manhattan streets. The atmosphere is welcoming and comforting as one’s eyes wander through the displays of teas, pâtes de fruits, chocolates, pastries, macaroons, and sandwiches. It’s no wonder that there are customers who will visit several times a day to look out for the treats that have just been put on display.

Since the publication of this article Fauchon New York has closed.


by Celia Sin-Tien Cheng
May 18, 2005

Pierre Marcolini Coeur Framboise


The red luster on this heart-shaped white chocolate-coated, dark-chocolate ganache is a real treat for the eye. This piece of chocolate is on fire, sweet and sinful, almost devilish in its perfection and beauty. The box of chocolate hearts is as gorgeous as the individual pieces of chocolate, set in a perfect round arrangement.

Click here to read the profile of chocolatier Pierre Marcolini.

Borne Confections
485 Park Ave
(58th & 59th Sts)
New York, NY 10022

Flown in from Brussels once every 2 weeks

Feeling: Distinguished, Simple, Generous


by Celia Sin-Tien Cheng
May 18, 2005

MarieBelle chocolates and beautiful packaging


MarieBelle’s packaging is gorgeous. I love their blue and brown identity colors. It’s a joy to visit their website and stores to see the range of products and the packaging. The branding is so well done and the design work so beautiful that you want to reuse the hot chocolate tins and the gift boxes that the bonbons come in. The jewel-box-like chocolate gift boxes could win the heart of any woman. The artwork of Jack Leiberman (Maribel’s husband) that is silk-screened onto the chocolates also adds a wonderful touch to the sweetness of MarieBelle.

Click here to read the profile of proprietor Maribel Lieberman.

484 Broome St
(Greene & Wooster Sts)
New York, NY 10013

25 Prince St
(Mott & Elizabeth Sts)
New York, NY 10012

Feeling: Romantic, Luxurious, Coquettish


by Celia Sin-Tien Cheng
May 18, 2005

25 E 61st St
(Madison & Park Aves)
New York, NY 10065

620 5th Ave
(49th & 50th Sts)
New York, NY 10020

Teuscher ‘s original champagne truffles are really yummy, made from a mix of milk and dark chocolate, Dom Perignon champagne and powered with confectioners sugar.

66 Water St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

350 Hudson St
(King & Charlton Sts)
New York, NY 10014

Jacques Torres can be likened to the Willy-Wonka of our times. Chocolate Haven particularly resonates with the WW factory concept. The spicy hot chocolate is appropriately named “wicked.”

485 Madison Ave
(51st & 52nd Sts)
New York, NY 10022

Belgian chocolatier founded in 1910 and introduced to NYC in 1991. In addition to the flagship boutique on Madison Avenue, there are three café locations in the Financial district to stop by for a hot drink and a sweet retreat.

Plaza Hotel
2 W 59 th St
@ 5th Ave
New York, NY 10019

The Plaza Hotel chocolatier.

2151 Broadway
(75th & 76th Sts)
New York, NY 10023

Belgian behemoth with an enormous selection of high-quality chocolates.

115 St Marks Place
(1 st Ave & Ave A)
New York, NY 10009

The Dutch ice cream franchise that makes chocolate with Australian aboriginal patterns silk-screened on the couverture. Flown in from Amsterdam monthly.

170 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003
(10th & 11th Sts)

The East Village patisserie that also makes truffles.

3 W 18 th St
(5th & 6th Aves)
New York, NY 10011

Originally famous for his lemon tarts, Chef Maury Rubin now holds annual hot chocolate festivals with his homemade secret recipe.

169 9th Ave
@ 20th St
New York, NY 10011

A charming Chelsea patisserie with some excellent and very reasonably priced truffles.

41 E 78 th St
(Madison & Park Aves)
New York, NY 10075

Japanese patisserie that specializes in mille-feuille-crepe-cakes, a.k.a. Mille Crepes, also carries a line of chocolates.

1032 Lexington Ave
(73rd & 74th Sts)
New York, NY 10021

The patisserie of patiserries in the Upper East Side also produces its own line of chocolates.

63 Hester St
@ Ludlow St
New York, NY 10002

This charming Lower East Side candy store has been around for 23 years. There is a large selection of nuts and dried fruits in addition to chocolates. Some chocolates are hand-dipped and others imported.

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