NYC Restaurants

Li-lac Chocolates
40 Eighth Avenue (at Jane St)
New York, NY, 10014
(212) 924-2280
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Cuisine: Candy/Chocolate

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Cititour Review:
Hosting Thanksgiving? Or arriving as a guest? Either way, an especially sweet New York tradition I recently ducked into (or, given the fierce wind that day, blew into really) is ready to help, in the form of killer desserts or a much-appreciated host or hostess gift. Li-Lac Chocolates is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year--helmed by Martha Bond, who's the shop's fourth owner in all that time (and the sister of its third).

How does a small business thrive in this town for 85 years? For one thing, by being especially good at what it does; and beyond that, by going the extra distance to make customers happy. Martha herself came out to say hello when I was looking around the shop--and gave me a sample of the chocolate, to remind me of just how great it is.

As I nibbled on my dark-chocolate bar and contemplated what to buy (when you've got a great product, free samples will help you sell!), I admired the stock. Lots of designs are here specifically for Thanksgiving: foil-wrapped milk-chocolate "ears" of harvest corn or graceful foil-wrapped fall leaves ($18.50 per lb.); white- or dark-chocolate "turkey pops" on lollipop sticks (small, $2.95; large, $4.50); a "fall assortment" of chocolates in a pretty fall-themed tin ($26.50); milk-chocolate  foil-wrapped turkeys, from $2.95 each (very large cellophane-wrapped chocolate gobblers for $38.50); and the "Thanksgiving Pail" assortment, in, yes, a festive tin pail ($30; includes a large chocolate ear of corn). And speaking of corn, candy corn is now on sale ($3.25 per lb.) to join your mix.

Holiday specifics aside, there are all kinds of ultra-yummy treats here, from decadent chocolate-covered Oreos ($1.10 each) to chocolate letters ($3.95 each; a few years ago, I searched the city for these, as a gift for a friend who'd mentioned them as part of a long-ago family tradition, and could only find them at Li-Lac). Not chocolate but very delicious is the popular Australian red or black licorice ($9.50 per pound).

In these tougher financial times, two charming and especially reasonable gift options jumped out at me: the 1-lb. gift box of fudge (plentiful and delicious for $18) and, for kids (or grownups!) awaiting Christmas' big arrival, an Advent calendar decorated like a Victorian toy shop, with 24 chocolates and Christmas verses for the 24 preceeding days of December ($7.50)--lovely.

Extra tip: I hit Li-Lac on my way home from the Nola Rising festival (www.nolarisingnyc.com/nola) on Christopher Street, running through November 26th. The festival, with many free programs, is dedicated to the arts in and the revitalization of New Orleans and is very much worth a visit. Wishing you a joyful Thanksgiving.

Review By: Pamela Grossman; Nov 23, 2008

Neighborhood: Greenwich Village


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