Chocolate has an effect similar to that of shopping. Even though we don’t necessarily need that new outfit, there’s just something about it that makes us feel so good. More than just a piece of candy, chocolate is a sensory experience that reminds us of the simple joys in life. There is a real art in the techniques of bringing chocolate from its initial form — a cacao bean — to a rich, indulgent treat that bewitches chocoholics worldwide. Fortunately for us, there are many places in Manhattan for chocolate lovers to get their fix.
The most recent chocolate shop we visited, Amedei, opened up on 18th street in December. We stopped in on a bone-chillingly cold day, and were offered decadent shots of hot chocolate to warm up. It was simply divine—like drinking a melted chocolate bar. To our surprise, their hot chocolate didn’t have any sugar added, basing its flavor in two key ingredients: hazelnut and cocoa butter. Offering a wide assortment of special edition chocolates, hot cocoa mix, espresso bars, loose pralines, and hazelnut cocoa spread (their take on Nutella), Amedei is a tiny little shop with just enough space for one wall of chocolate products and a counter. Amedei is special in that it is based in Tuscany, Italy, and the woman who started it, Cecilia Tessieri, is the world’s first female chocolatier. The pure, honest notes of their fair trade chocolate are heavenly.
We were also excited to visit Kee’s Chocolates on 39th Street, which offers an array of individual treats. Although Kee’s has two other locations on Thompson Street and Fifth Avenue, the location on 39th street is where they hand make all of their chocolate fresh daily, without any artificial ingredients. Kee’s personal favorite chocolate that she makes is the passion fruit — “Perfect for Valentine’s Day, because it’s heart-shaped” she told us. She offered us a sample and we fell in love with its subtle fruity notes, which blended perfectly with the rich dark chocolate. We also tried a dark chocolate truffle dipped in pignoli nuts that was decadent and divine. And we savored the mint mocha chocolate with its flavorful undertones.
Chocolate is good any time of the year – any time of the day, for that matter – but as Valentine’s Day approaches, we can’t think of a better way to spread some love and happiness than by treating yourself or special someone to a little piece of heaven from Amedei, Kee’s, or any one of these other lovely little Side Street chocolate shops. Don’t miss the L.A. Burdick video!