Williamsburg’s taciturn Mast Brothers know just what I’m talking about.
This time of year always presents a dilemma for straight boys and gay girls: how to celebrate Valentine’s Day — the only holiday focused on carnal love and desire —
with your significant other?
Taking her out to dinner is traditional, but in NYC it’s also expensive and nonproductive: The hottest restaurants are featuring pricey prix fixes, which often represent shorter menus with fewer choices, and punishing markups. What’s more, these packed places often possess deafening noise levels, making romantic conversation impossible.
La Maison du Chocolat; Valentine’s Day Coffret; chocolates in four types with aphrodisiacal properties, including single-estate chocolates from Trinidad and fruits from Cambodia; eight pieces; 0.13 pounds — $36
So, why am I addressing this just to straight boys and gay girls? Because, if it is indeed true that 90 percent of all chocoholics are female, then chocolate might just be your best way to your favorite girl’s heart on Valentine’s Day.
I’m not talking about Hershey’s, Cadbury, Lindt, or even Godiva (yuck!), either. I’m talking about high-end chocolates. Chocolates that make an extravagant statement. Chocolates better than anything you’ve ever tasted before.
Here are five of the city’s best chocolatiers, places where the smoothness and richness of the product outdoes all others. Some are made in Belgium and Switzerland, some right here in Gotham.
Imagine gifting one of these, then sitting down in the quietude of your apartment to watch an episode of Downton Abbey. That’s Valentine’s Day perfection! But be careful, like high-end sushi, once you’ve tasted the superlative product, you can never go back to the salad-bar stuff again.
Leonidas Chocolates; made in Belgium since 1913; velvet heart-shaped box; covered with dark, milk, and white chocolate; approximately 49 pieces; 1.72 pounds — $94
Teuscher Chocolates; assorted truffles made in Switzerland; fillings include champagne, classic milk, dark and white truffles, cocoa, walnut, almond, fresh orange, buttercrunch, caramel, and seasonal varieties; 16 pieces; 0.5 pounds — $42
Jacques Torres Chocolates; manufactured in Soho or DUMBO and hence locavorically correct; Kiss & Tell selection includes dark and light chocolate coatings over champagne bonbons; each piece bears a pair of red lips, and underneath is a suggestion as to where to kiss; 25 pieces — $36
Mast Brothers; made in Williamsburg, Mast Brothers artisanal chocolates feature cacao often sourced from a single estate in bar form with very design-y labels; flavors include Stumptown coffee, pecan and maple, Maine sea salt, vanilla and smoke, black truffle, and Serrano pepper; 10 bars; 2.5 ounces each — $80
All these chocolates can also be bought in stores in the city; check websites for locations.