Brian G. asks: I want to get my foodie girlfriend some chocolates for Valentine’s Day, so I can’t get Godiva or anything too mass market. Where can I find a nice assortment of chocolates?
Dear Brian: What a good boyfriend you are, thinking so far in advance! True, it’s hard to go with a brand like Godiva when there are so many great chocolatiers in New York City. Here are a few to get you on your way.
I personally love the selection at Kee’s Chocolates, a small shop in Soho (with a Midtown branch) founded by Kee Ling Tong. Her chocolates are priced at $2.45 apiece and are flavored with all sorts of spices and fruits. My favorites include the dark chocolate truffles with Earl Grey tea leaves, the dark chocolate ganache with elderflower, the dark chocolate with fresh Thai kaffir lime, and the dark chocolate truffle infused with southern French plums and a hint of sea salt.
It’s also hard to talk about New York City chocolatiers without mentioning Jacques Torres. After all, he is Mr. Chocolate. Go with the classic Jacques’ Choice box, which includes a medley of 12 pieces for $19.20. You’ll get squares filled with liquid caramel, peanut brittle, or fresh coconut, among other delights.
MarieBelle is another of my top choices for an assortment of cacao delights, including a great hot chocolate. If you want to go all out, splurge on the $46 Casanova Collection box, which features chocolates made from beans sourced from the Theobroma trees in Venezuela, Ecuador, Java, and Madagascar.
One idea that might also be cute is to get her a selection of chocolate bars from around the world. Because who doesn’t love a chocolate bar? My two favorite spots for unique bar chocolates are the Meadow, a new West Village shop specializing in salt, but with a large array of bar chocolate, and the Sweet Life, a Lower East Side candy shop featuring goods from all over. Or get her fancy artisanal chocolate bars from Liddabit Sweets. The Snacker contains crunchy roasted peanuts in a golden caramel atop a creamy chocolate nougat, all covered in dark chocolate — it’s everything you’ve ever wanted a Snickers bar to be.