With a predilection for the over-sweet, saccharine and colourful, desserts in New York are oftentimes, superficially beautiful (and highly Instagrammable), yet substantively lacking. How about its chocolate? You have previously joined us on a chocolate tour of the Flatiron and Union Square districts. Join us again for a walking tour of Soho’s most exquisite chocolatiers — it’s the perfect “socially-distanced” outdoor activity for winter, with a serious dose of sweetness on the side 😛
Chocolate as decor
- Dessert destination: Li-Lac Chocolates, 162 Bleecker Street, Soho, Manhattan.
- Short and sweet story: Chocolate figurines. Established in the 1920s, Li-Lac is allegedly, the oldest chocolatier in NYC. We think it has literally stood the test of time because it has innovated along with the times. We always make it a point to visit for the main holidays of Easter and Christmas for its pretty chocolate figurines — they remind us so much of home, of the chocolate floral artistry from Sisko or the nostalgic chocolate sculptures of Ganache Chocolate. On our recent return visit back to Li-Lac this Christmas season, we went straight for a petite tubby snowman. It kind of sums up what has happened to our physique this year…
Failing to kick the dessert habit
- Dessert destination: L.A. Burdick Chocolates, 156 Prince Street, Soho, Manhattan.
- Short and sweet story: Spicy hot chocolate. One of the few homegrown high-end chocolatiers in NYC, L.A. Burdick sparkles particularly during Christmas with cascades of starlight gracing its ceilings. Its cups of hot chocolate are all about melting moments, luxurious, slightly bitter with a hint of a spicy after-kick, it warms the hands, the tummy, and the soul. Don’t forget to indulge in a wooden box of its signature chocolate mice, or the eponymous praline cake slice.
A wish for the warmth of spring
- Dessert destination: Dominique Ansel, 189 Spring St, Soho, Manhattan.
- Short and sweet story: Flowering hot chocolate. We have featured Dominique Ansel more than once on this dessert blog — there’s the cronut hybrid pastry creation, the stunning platter of trompe l’oeil desserts from summer 2019, the chill of biting into a frozen s’more. Unquestionably, if DA had a “frequent visitor” card, we would have attained VIP platinum status by now. Similar to its other Instagram-worthy dessert creations, DA’s hot chocolate is just as iconic. It errs on the sweeter end of the spectrum, with the star of the show being a marshmallow flower that slowly unfurls once its white chocolate cap melts into a slight foam. Pair it with a chocolate pine cone cake or a gingerbread croissant, and that’s certainly our type of breakfast or afternoon tea on Christmas day. 😛
A Tiffany-esque chocolate secret
- Dessert destination: Mariebelle, 484 Broome Street, Soho, Manhattan.
- Short and sweet story: Aztec gold. If DA is one of our most loved patisseries in NYC, Mariebelle would be one of our favourite chocolatiers (maybe second to Chocolate Moderne, which is our ultimate favourite). It’s distinguishable for its very unabashedly sumptuous old European style, enclosed in an almost Tiffany-blue bijoux of a shop. Mariebelle’s chocolate gift boxes imprinted with winter scenes of NYC make for an especially lovely Christmas gift, but as a treat for yourself, Mariebelle stirs up our favourite hot chocolate in NYC. With an extensive menu featuring milk, dark and white chocolate, and with a multitude of flavourings, we challenge you to disagree with us here. Exuberantly creamy, almost like a soup really, with strong hints of cloves and cinnamon – one cup of molten chocolate from Mariebelle is the perfect way to liquefy the past year, and welcome the winter, the holiday season and the upcoming new year.