We have previously taken you on a chocolate tour of Flatiron and Gramercy, and also to a chocolate factory adventure in Red Hook. This round-up review does not feature the long-standing stalwarts of the New York chocolate scene (e.g. Myzel’s or Varsano’s), the more widespread chocolate chain stores (e.g. Lilac, Kee’s, Jacques Torres), the more hip-minded chocolatiers (e.g. OCD, Nunu, Tache, Raaka), nor the mega-glitzy foreign imports (e.g., Hotel Chocolat, Nutella, Venchi, Godiva, Michel Gluizel, Maison Du Chocolat). We will pen a review of those in time, so do check back in. Rather, this present review features the chocolates that we consider as offering some of the photogenic edible creations in NYC. With Valentine’s Day a few weeks away, we hope that you will find this guide useful in expressing your love in a sweet way to your partner in life, or alternatively, gifting yourself with a magnificent treat because well, everyone is worth it. Bon appetit!
The Michelin star baby
- ☑ Dessert destination: Gabriel Kreuther, Midtown Manhattan.
- ☑ Our must-eat recommendation: Key Lime Pie, Mojito, Hemingway, Forbidden Rice.
- ☑ Short and sweet story: It was only very recently that your Dessert Correspondents learned about the concept of “love language.” For some people, love means physical touch and presence, or quality time. For others, it is the act of gifting and being gifted. And if you fall into the latter category, chocolates from the offspring of a Michelin star restaurant should satisfy every fancy whim and want. And if not, well…pair it with some glittering jewellery or a helicopter ride then haha! The chocolates at Gabriel Kreuther are sophisticated, as close to perfection as you can dream possible (with a price tag to match). Yet strangely, this chocolatier is so very under the radar that we would wager that 95% of New Yorkers would not even be aware that this chocolate store exists.
Love in pictures
- ☑ Dessert destination: Mariebelle, Soho, Manhattan.
- ☑ Our must-eat recommendation: The salted caramels.
- ☑ Short and sweet story: One of the first chocolate shops that we visited when we first came to NYC three years ago now, Mariebelle remains one of our favourite dessert stops in NYC. While chocolate is somewhat of an afterthought at Mariebelle’s high tea session (which we have previously reviewed, link here), that isn’t otherwise the case at this lavishly-decorated store. At Mariebelle, the chocolates are imprinted with pictures of couples in love, dancing, serenading and proposing to each other, as well as with scenes of New York across the seasons. When presented in one of the store’s beautiful vintage-style tin or book cases, the chocolates weave a tapestry of all the different facets of romance.
From the stars
- ☑ Dessert destination: Stick with Me, Nolita, Manhattan.
- ☑ Our must-eat recommendation: Speculoos S’mores, Vero, Kalamansi, Passionfruit.
- ☑ Short and sweet story: Stick with Me is a tiny store. It’s so tiny in fact, that if more than 2-3 patrons are in the shop at the same time, you become the shop’s name. Serious space issues aside, the only word to describe the chocolate here is “cosmic.” They are painted in swirling galaxy colours, infused with the high creativity that reminds us of the wonderful chocolate scene in London, and packaged in the sweetest little book cases that would leave any chocolate-loving bibliophile (including us) truly starstruck.
A tale of transcendental love
- ☑ Dessert destination: Chocolate Moderne, Flatiron, Manhattan.
- ☑ Our must-eat recommendation: Everything! Especially the Persimmon, Kumquat Ginger, any of the Chocolate Hearts (various flavours), and don’t miss the Baklava and Pomegranate Rose, during Easter/Passover season.
- ☑ Short and sweet story: Unquestionably our absolute favourite chocolatier in NYC, and also one of our most tightly-held dessert secret spots, we adore Chocolate Moderne (for our previous review, link here). Classical and timeless, yet with a slight creative edge, the chocolates here embrace both traditional “Western” flavours as well as “Eastern” flavours, and are crafted with meticulous care into the shape of hearts or rosebuds, or alternatively painted with a Japonoiserie pattern. What distinguishes Chocolate Moderne from all the NYC chocolatiers that we have visited though has to be effusive warmth of the wife-husband team, both of whom take the time to learn about you and your beloved, and relish in assisting you to realize a chocolate dream.
A different type of floral bouquet
- ☑ Dessert destination: Bon Vivant, Midtown East, Manhattan.
- ☑ Short and sweet story: Ok, so we are being a little sneaky here. Bon Vivant isn’t about chocolate, but we think it could certainly pass for it. Rather, this store offers petit fours in the form of tiny cube cakes of vanilla or lavender, smothered in almond marzipan and a fondant glaze. These are the haute couture of cakes – perfect for the ultra special occasion. Indeed, they are our go-to for whenever we decide to host an afternoon tea affair at home. Who wants roses and lilies that wilt within a few days when you can have a veritable flower garden here?