For chocolate fans, New York represents paradise on earth, where you can get fine artisanal chocolates, chocolate produced locally in addition to imported Belgian, French and Swiss truffles and nearly everything else chocolate as well. While a number of specialty stores such as Dylan's Candy Bar
in Midtown East or bakeries such as City Bakery
in the Flatiron District have a fine selection of chocolate goods, we thought it would be fun to create a walking tour that combines some exercise along with serious tastings at some of New York's finest chocolatiers. We begin just west of SoHo, proceed through SoHo up to Union Square, and then head over to Chelsea and Greenwich Village. The tour can be reversed and obviously stopped at any time if you exceed your maximum caloric intake for the day (or week)! Of course, you'll find numerous additional recommendations in our Best Chocolate & Sweet Shops Guide
At the intersection of Hudson and King Streets (nearest subway: #1 train to Houston Street) you'll find the massive Jacques Torres Chocolate
store, with endless specialties that delight and please all comers. In addition, you can stare through the plate-glass windows and watch the candy being manufactured. It's a terrific place!
From here we proceed down Hudson Street three blocks to Spring Street, then walk east four blocks to 80 Thompson Street, the boutique of Kee Ling Tong, a French Culinary Institute graduate who has a modest yet seductive shop called Kee's Chocolates
. Do ensure you taste some of the more exotic flavors, for the selection is quite extraordinary. You'll now head a block south and a little more than a block east to a much larger shop, Marie Belle Fine Treats & Chocolates
, which has a diverse array of lavishly-packaged products ranging from gift boxes to teas, coffee and larger-sized bars. Do examine the selection in the glass display case, and perhaps head to the back to their Cacao Bar, where you can sit and enjoy an Aztec iced or hot chocolate, along with cakes, pastries, cookies, and other sweet treats.
Now contrast your experience at Marie Belle with that at nearby Vosges Chocolate
, which you'll find a block north on Spring Street. Though equally seductive, these two places could not be more different in style. With its lush purple walls and long skinny chocolate bar, the temptations here are fascinating and complex. Try the Collección Gaudí, inspired by the famous Spanish architect. Or perhaps some exotic caramels, or a refreshing iced chocolate. The ice creams are superb and fascinating as well, especially a fiery-hot and appropriately named Red Fire, which has ancho & chipotle chillies, Ceylon cinnamon and dark chocolate. Assuredly you can squeeze in one more SoHo boutique, Divalicious Chocolate
on Broome Street, right?
Of course, SoHo isn't just about chocolate boutiques but about chocolate in a wider merchandising context. Since we're about to slowly proceed towards Union Square, we suggest en route to head over to Broadway and Prince Street, where you will stop in at nearby Dean & Deluca
to admire the huge selection of designer chocolates. At this point, you can either detour to the east and visit the delightful Bespoke Chocolates
near the Bowery and East Houston Street, or simply proceed north and walk the next dozen-plus blocks up to Max Brenner Chocolate by the Bald Man
. The walk up Broadway will help bring you back to earth from your current endorphin overload. Brenner is well-known in Israel and Europe, and this flagship location here in New York features the most diverse and unique chocolate menu we've seen. Perhaps enjoy a full meal here, or if you prefer, take your selections to charming Union Square Park
just a block away and indulge in public. If you took the Bowery detour to Bespoke, then proceed just a few more blocks up the Bowery to the fabulous Bond Street Chocolate
. Meanwhile, if you want all your friends and family to know just how much chocolate you've enjoyed so far, pull out your laptop or PDA and send emails while you eat your truffles!
Now that you've headed up the Bowery or Broadway to Union Square, your cacao fixations in the Union Square area are not limited solely to chocolate boutiques. Whole Foods Market—actually, both the Union Square
locations—feature a wide assortment of chocolates, innovative ice creams, and desserts, all of which can be consumed in the cozy second-floor dining areas. Or perhaps you're ready for a tea break?
If you still have the energy, proceed north and west from Union Square on 18th Street to the nearby City Bakery
, which features a small array of treats in addition to other chocolate desserts and an entire month (February) featuring a different type of hot chocolate each day! Continue on West 18th Street to Ninth Avenue, and then two blocks north up to La Bergamote
, where in addition to New York's finest truffles you'll find phenomenal triple chocolate mousse, chocolate mousse cakes, and souris au chocolat
(in the adorable shape of chocolate mice).
From here go back down Ninth Avenue four blocks to the Chelsea Market
, where you'll find astoundingly rich and flavorful brownies at Fat Witch Bakery, chocolate goodies at Eleni's Bakery, Ruthy's Ruggelach, Sarabeth's and ice cream at Jimmy's Gelato and Leonidas pralines at Chelsea Market Baskets. Exit the market and proceed back to Eighth Avenue: we have only four more stops to go! Make a right on Eighth Avenue, and at the corner of 14th Street head in to Balducci's
, this wonderful gourmet temple which of course has a nice selection of chocolates and desserts. Then head south a few blocks south where you'll find two perennial favorites, both Li-Lac Chocolates
at #40 and Chocolate Bar
Still haven't had enough? Don't forget, we listed the best chocolate boutiques
all over the city so you can enjoy other offerings in other neighborhoods as well. And make sure you register
with our site so you can write reviews of all these wonderful chocolates you've just sampled!