The romance, kisses and champagne are all very nice, but for me the best part about Valentine's Day is that it gives you an ironclad excuse to give, and receive, large amounts of excellent chocolate. Lucky for us, NYC has so many spots making great chocolate in different styles, sizes, and flavors appropriate for friends, office buddies, lovers, children, and anyone else that you might want to buy chocolate for. Here then, a look at some of the best places to make your sweet-toothed sweetie happy this Valentine's Day!
Mast Brothers Artisanal Chocolate
For a truly outstanding artisanal chocolate (meaning, they make it right there in the store, in small batches, using premium, fair-trade ingredients), the best option remains Mast Brothers. Visit their flagship store in Williamsburg, where you can get truffles, cookies, and other treats. They also have an ever-increasing number of specialty food stores around town.
Fine & Raw Chocolate Factory
Fine & Raw is another solid bet for those who crave single-source, intensely dark chocolate. They always have a booth at the Brooklyn Flea Winter Market (which I recommend checking out for many reasons), but you can also find Fine & Raw bars in better food stores.
And a bit more gimmicky but still first-rate, there's the vast selection at Vosges, featuring chocolate with bacon, chocolate with goji berries, chocolate with black pepper, chocolate with… you get the idea. In Soho, the Upper East Side, and, once again, in gourmet shops everywhere else.
Roni Sue's Truffles
If you're thinking more along the lines of a box of truffles for the cutie pies in your life, know that the fantastic Roni Sue's are now selling their boozy bits of chocolaty heaven in a new shop on Forsyth Street on the Lower East Side, to go along with their booth at the Essex Street Market.
The chocolate wizards at Kee's in Soho and on West 39th are also A+ at the sophisticated truffles game.
Li-Lac's NYC Cholocate Delivery
For a little bit–or, better yet, a LOT–of everything, Li-Lac in the West Village continues to impress, year after year (after year! it's been since 1923!), with their chocolate-molded, chocolate-dipped, made-with-love chocolate everything. They also have an outpost in Grand Central, and will deliver anywhere in Manhattan below 99th Street.
Japanese Chocolates at Royce
And I just tried Japanese import Royce for the first time this week (they have two shops in Midtown, and a brand new boutique on Bleecker), and highly recommend the ganache-y "Nama" chocolates, as well as the chunky bars. Those chocolate-dipped potato chips look pretty good, too.
Jacques Torres' Valentine's Themed Gifts
For crowd-pleasing designs, friendly prices AND sensational chocolate, my long-time go-to is Jacques Torres, who, as he does every year, has a fresh lineup of Valentine's-themed gifts to go with all of the usual reasons why he's so good. On Hudson Street, Amsterdam Avenue, Rock Center, and now a Valentine's "season" pop-up in Grand Central.
Burdick Chocolate The Market
Burdick Chocolate in the Flatiron is also solid, though I can't shake the feeling that I'm in the suburbs somewhere whenever I shop there. Cute penguins, though.
Sugar and Plumm
Speaking of the suburbs, Sugar and Plumm on the Upper West Side (and on Bleecker Street) also manages to overcome some unfortunate decor choices with a fun, festive, and well-crafted selection of chocolate-based sweets. Also: surprisingly great dinner!
MarieBelle Chocolate Bark
Finally, a quick shout-out to tiny, super-friendly MarieBelle on Broome Street, home of the best chocolate bark I've ever had, as well as a full line of terrific truffles in creative varieties.
Did we miss your favorite NYC chocolate shop? Tell us what it is in the comments!