NYC’s L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates

Best Gifts in NYC

I recently was dismayed to discover that one of my favorite chocolate shops, Xocolatti, had closed down their brick and mortar and moved their location strictly online. The joys of having a local chocolatier often include being able to view the chocolates in person, question a shop keeper about their contents and flavors, and occasionally sample the chocolates before committing to a purchase. Store fronts are also a way to connect customers to the chocolatiers personal vision and style, is the product innovative? Is a boutique chocolate shop with only extremely dark chocolates or something more down-home and decadent? You tend to get an impression of what kind of chocolates you’re in for when you walk in. Support your local chocolatier folks! Who knows how long they’ll be around for.

Chocolate Shops in NYC

While Shaineal Shah’s Xocolatti has vacated their Prince St premises, another chocolate shop has since made SoHo their home. L.A. Burdick, whose Flatiron location was one of my favorite shops, relocated last year to 156 Prince St.

SoHo Chocolate StoreBest Hot Cocoa in NYC

The location, much like their Flatiron one, is adorable – wood shelving, tables, benches, warm tones, sconces, striped wallpaper, and framed photos of cocoa pods. I can already see myself meeting up for cocoa here during the winter and their frozen hot chocolate during the summer.

L.A. Burdick Chocolates in ManhattanChocolate Gifts in New York City

You can sit down for coffee, cocoa, and instagramable cappuccinos or grab boxes of their chocolate for on-the-go gifting. I recommend trying one or two of their petite desserts. The options aren’t overwhelming, but prepare your sweet tooth – chocolate lovers will rejoice over their raspberry chocolate cake.

Best Chocolate Desserts in NYC

Their chocolates are small but intense, their flavors pronounced but, again, not overwhelming. They’re really something special.

Boutique Chocolatier in NYCChocolate Wedding Favors

Every year my sister requests a medium sized box of L.A. Burdick chocolates for Christmas. I love how they come in a cute wooden box, sealed with a ribbon and a wax seal. The shop ladies are always so kind and wrap up the gift in tissue paper and extra ribbon, and the chocolates are always gone by New Years Eve.

Best Chocolates in NYC

Right now L.A. Burdick have partnered with The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a charitable organization in Kenya known for their orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program. 100% of net proceeds from these handmade chocolate elephants will be donated to the trust. Frankly, I can’t think of a better excuse to eat chocolate! The milk chocolate elephant contains dark chocolate ganache infused with fresh mint leaves – leave everything you know about mint chocolates behind, the mint in this chocolate is very fresh and exciting. The dark chocolate elephant contains passion fruit and Amarula cream liqueur dark chocolate ganache. So good. Elephants will not be available in November and December, so snap them up while you can!

L.A. Burdick Chocolate ElephantsChocolates for Charity

In terms of high end or low end, L.A. Burdick chocolates – while on the more expensive end of the scale – are not pretentious. You get what you pay for, which is excellent quality, flavor, style, and design. Their chocolate is excellent chocolate, you don’t need to know what percentage of cocoa content you prefer to pick out a good piece. Bring your cocoa snobs and your Hershey loving friends here, I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying L.A. Burdick’s sweet treats.

L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates
156 Prince St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 796-0143

https://www.burdickchocolate.com/

The NYC Chocolate Project: Cocoa Store

Located at 15 E 18th Street the Cocoa Store is easily the smallest chocolate shop that I’ve been in. What they lack in space, they make up in creative use of that space. The walls are lined with some of the priciest chocolate I’ve had, and the jewelry-style display case makes their limited selection of truffles feel extra special.

The Cocoa Store in NYCNYC Chocolate Shops

Cocoa Store is a “retailer of prestigious chocolate brands from around the world”, and carries primarily five chocolate brands: Amedei, Domori, Castronovo, Dick and Taylor, and Harper Macaw.

You can buy single truffles from the display case, or chocolate bars and collections from behind. I definitely recommend the miniatures collection in front of the register, in this case your best bet is to acquaint yourself with the flavors of the chocolate offered before committing to a whole bar or collection.

Cocoa Store NYC register

Out of all the chocolate shops that I’ve been to, the Cocoa Store offers the most intense (and expensive) chocolate. If you, or someone you know, are hardcore chocolate connoisseurs – the kind that know the bean location and cocoa concentration of their chocolate – then you and they will love this place. Especially dark chocolate fans.

Initially I was sort of skeptical of the prices I saw at the Cocoa Store, however a little digging proved that the chocolates offered here are the real deal – they’re boutique chocolates with a world-wide following. Amedei’s single plantation chocolate, Chuao, is considered by some very influential chocolatiers to be possibly the greatest chocolate in the world. Food & Wine’s Pete Wells wrote an excellent article on the chocolatiers here, it’s well worth reading whether or not you’re a chocolate fan.

Cocoa Store NYC display case

Domori, another specialty chocolate, was founded in 1997 and are credited with restoring the cultivation of Criollo beans. In 2002, Gianluca Franzoni opened a plantation in Venezuela where he is cultivating varieties of Criollo that are on the verge of extinction.

Castronovo, owned by one of few female chocolate makers in America, Denise Castronovo, offers sustainable American craft chocolate. “Castronovo sources the cacao beans and contributes to providing an income for indigenous people who live off of the rainforest.  The prestigious awards she has received, including 7 World Final International Chocolate Awards, and 8 Academy of Chocolate Awards from London are just the result of her lifelong commitment.” – Cocoa Store

Amedei Chocolates NYC Cocoa Store

Dick and Taylor source their cocoa from around the world, using only organic cocao and organic cane sugar. With options like Black Fig, 72% Maple Coconut, and a limited release Vietnam Tien Giang with tasting notes of spice cake, apricot, and almond butter, you really can’t go wrong trying at least one. Each 2oz bar runs about $8.50, and ranks as a small, affordable luxury. Plus, the packaging is absolutely beautiful.

Harper Macaw chocolates are sourced from two of Earth’s most threatened biomes – Brazil’s Atlantic and Amazon rainforests. Their mission? Turning chocolate into a force for tropical reforestation. You clearly see their inspiration in the creative and eye-catching design of their chocolates.

Harper Macaw Chocolates Cocoa Store NYC

On my first visit I ended up spending roughly $80 on chocolates – I had a few pralines and truffles, an Amedei Toscano Red Chocolate Bar, Domori Napolitains D-Fusion Sleeve, a Single Origins Sleeve, a Domori Pret a Porter Chocolate Gift Bag, and a Criollo sleeve.

The sleeves are the best way to familiarize yourself with the varying degrees of cocoa content, bean sources and flavors, while the chocolate gift bag is great for gifting and easing yourself into the serious and intense flavors offered. The bag itself seems to be themed around hazelnuts with exception of the Rum and Chestnut ‘Cuneesi’ Pralines – which utilize chestnut cream and Agrimontana chestnuts liquor instead.

Amedei Chocolates in NYC

My favorite was the Amedei Toscano Red Chocolate Bar, which features a minimum of 70% cocoa content, and dried red fruit (strawberry, cherry, and raspberry). I always love the marriage of tart and sweet, and while the dark chocolate here isn’t exacting teeming with sugar, it’s still beautifully done.

Amedei Toscano Red

After doing my little bit of googling research into the brands sold at the Cocoa Store, I really feel much more enthusiastic about this little shop. You’d be hardpressed to find brands like Amedei elsewhere and I only know of one other place – 2beans – that carries Domori. In terms of access, the Cocoa Store is part of what makes the city so great – that we have the ability to hop on the train or bus and are able to access luxury chocolates, possibly the greatest chocolates, quite easily.

Cocoa Store
15 E 18th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 982-8005

https://cocoastore.nyc/

The NYC Chocolate Project: Teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland

With two locations in the city, Teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland offers NYC tourists and locals some seriously decadent confections. Founded in 1932 in Switzerland by Dolf Teuscher, Tuescher’s signature offering are the champagne chocolate truffles – of which I have eaten many, many, many of. The chocolates themselves aren’t the prettiest things to look at, they’re simple, polite domes dusted in a powdery white sugar coating. But the quality and care put into creating these unassuming treats are obvious in the flavor.

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Teuscher’s champagne chocolates are made with Dom Perignon champagne (the good stuff! I feel like Ina Garten would approve), butter cream, surrounded by a dark cream ganache, then enrobed in milk chocolate. These rank up there with Grey’s Papaya hot dogs, good pizza, and good sushi for me. Pure comfort. My family has actually made a yearly tradition of walking to see the tree at Rockefeller center, taking a touristy picture, then swinging by Teuscher. There’s something about being surrounded by the chaos and glamour of the city while enjoying fancy chocolate flown in from Zurich. Then, of course, we brave the crowds and descend upon the problematic subway system (you did hear that they’re raising the fares soon? Crazy!).

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Don’t sleep on Teuscher’s other chocolate offerings though, these jewel-shaped gianduja truffles were silky and ideal. The Bailey’s Irish Cream and Pistachio truffles are definitely worth trying too. What’s really pleasant about Teuscher chocolates is that you can taste the intensity of the chocolate without missing out on the flavoring aspect. You taste the champagne in the champagne truffles, but the chocolate is good enough that you taste that too. There’s nothing quite as trying as a champagne truffle that doesn’t taste like it has even the remotest splash of champagne in it. You won’t experience such disappointment here.

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Though the $112 a pound price tag can cause general sticker shock, two champagne truffles usually cost between $8-9, which is not entirely astronomical considering that they’re flown in from Zurich and are comprised of quality ingredients. If you’re looking for an extra special gift, stop by during the holidays. These pictures are from the Summer, where they go all out on décor and specially styled boxes, so you can imagine the effort and imagination that goes into the holiday offerings. My family actually hangs a little Swiss doll ornament that we purchased at the Rockefeller Center shop years ago.

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If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, the 61st Street shop is much smaller, and much quieter thanks in part to their no cellphones rule (suggested by a sign posted on the door). Find more information about Teuscher, and to purchase your own chocolates, click here.