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Elegant, Non-Showy (and Delicious) Chocolate Gift

Jim Leff Nov 4, 2006 04:06 PM

I need the perfect chocolate gift. Small, very elegant/beautiful, but not pretentious. And delicious. Not "impressive", somewhat low profile but it should look like some thought's gone into its selection. It's for a non-foodie, so it should be accessible, taste-wise, and not super refined. (pedigree of cocoa beans, etc, not at all an issue, and no curacao/fennel cream centers, please).

I'll go anywhere in Manhattan to buy, would prefer not to mail order.


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  1. MMRuth RE: Jim Leff Nov 4, 2006 04:31 PM

    I love Kee's chocolates ... yes, there are some funky (yet delicious) flavors, but a lot of standard ones as well. Don't know what the packaging is like ... because I always get them in the cellophane bag because I'm going to eat them right away. I think the nut truffles are incredible - almond and pistachio.

    http://www.keeschocolates.com/menu.html - It's on Thompson in Soho.

    1. tamasha RE: Jim Leff Nov 4, 2006 04:46 PM

      Chocolate Bar on 8th Avenue has delicious chocolates. Like Kee's they have some funky flavors, but also "normal" ones. The packaging is brown and orange - elegant but not pretentious. They're going for the retro vibe.

      1. c
        chocokitty RE: Jim Leff Nov 4, 2006 04:49 PM

        As a chocoholic, I can name few places for you are:

        My absolute favorite place (as well as most 'hounders here) is Kee's Chocolate (80 Thompson Street in SoHo)
        It has an infusion of many great flavors - I truly recommend the Creme brulee - the experience of eating that chocolate blows your mind.

        Jacques Torres' Chocolate Haven
        350 Hudson at King Street (in SoHo

        Lindt Chocolate
        692 5th Ave (Midtown

        Neuhaus Chocolate
        2151 Broadway (Upper West Side

        Most of the ones (except for Kee's) I've listed are not too adventurous in the flavor department but it's good to eat or give as gifts for the non-foodie or the discerning chocoholic. If you really just want mainstream but elegant chocolate, I would stick with Lindt chocolate.

        Good luck on your search.

        1. Jim Leff RE: Jim Leff Nov 4, 2006 04:54 PM

          Thanks all.

          Very understandably, you guys seem to think that I was talking about flavor when I used words like "elegant" and "beautiful". No. I mean the appearance. For once, appearance of food is as important as flavor. Hey, it's a gift!

          I need a single chocolate object (i.e. not a box of chocolates). Smallish. Low profile. Non-impressive. But elegant and beautiful (the object, not the packaging). Also delicious - in an accessible way.


          2 Replies
          1. re: Jim Leff
            Pupster RE: Jim Leff Nov 4, 2006 05:05 PM

            How about a tin of MarieBelle's hot chocolate?
            Store is on Broome St in Soho.
            It's unpretentious (hey, it's hot chocolate!) but delicious. The tin is festive and elegant but not too much. A addition of homemade marshmallows (you can get some at Whole Foods) adds a playful touch.

            1. re: Pupster
              MMRuth RE: Pupster Nov 4, 2006 05:35 PM

              It is incredible hot chocolate. You might also want to call Teuscher - they may do special shapes - or also Li-lac - though I've not had their chocolate for years - they do have "shapes" - http://www.li-lacchocolates.com/speci....

          2. x
            xavier RE: Jim Leff Nov 4, 2006 05:10 PM

            Jim, I'd try to Vosges in Soho. I go to kees if I want great chocolate for my lovely wife, but Vosges when I need something like a great, unusual easter bunny for my lovely wife.

            Now, I once had a guy in Hoboken custom make a Last Supper in chocolate.

            132 Spring St.

            Are you back in NYC???

            1. g
              gutsofsteel RE: Jim Leff Nov 4, 2006 05:40 PM

              Strongly second the recommendation for Kee's Chocolates on Thompson St. Beautiful flavors, interesting flavors, simple elegant packaging, excellent quality. She was a protogee of Jacques Torres, and has exceeded him in skill and presentation. She's the real deal - unpretentious, and devoted to making the best chocolate.

              1. f
                fauchon RE: Jim Leff Nov 4, 2006 05:45 PM

                I agree with all the recs. I know you'd prefer no mail order but for elegant, small, unpretentious & non-showy + delicious (and witty), have you considered the chocolate mice (or penguins) from LABurdick? They also have turkeys if you want something seasonal...Dean & Deluca used to have these but I don't know if they still do....


                1 Reply
                1. re: fauchon
                  Jim Leff RE: fauchon Nov 4, 2006 07:51 PM

                  Thanks, fauchon, a couple penguins in a simple box seems just right. But i'll also stop by Kee's, which I don't know.

                2. MMRuth RE: Jim Leff Nov 4, 2006 05:50 PM

                  OK - here's another place - but again, not tried the chocolate -


                  She's in Bloomingdales - found it through this website:


                  Good luck with your search (and do report back!)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: MMRuth
                    fauchon RE: MMRuth Nov 4, 2006 05:58 PM

                    forgot to mention pierre marcolini...at Park Ave & 58th Street...

                    also not sure if anyone's mentioned Richart...near the St Regis hotel...



                    1. re: fauchon
                      MMRuth RE: fauchon Nov 4, 2006 06:00 PM

                      I was just there the other day - excellent chocolate - but don't remember seeing any special shapes.

                  2. Miss Needle RE: Jim Leff Nov 4, 2006 08:34 PM

                    Hmmmm... What about Rechhiuti in Dean and Deluca. I love their "non-traditional truffles," but they've got some other things that may strike your fancy. Their packaging is very understated and elegant.


                    1. bolletje RE: Jim Leff Nov 5, 2006 03:35 AM

                      Last time I was at Kee's she had Turtles, those goopy caramel/nut/chocolate candies. A box of those would be a great gift--both accessible and surprising. She somehow managed to elevate a classic American candy to some kind of revelatory "taste it again for the first time" kind of thing.

                      1. efdee RE: Jim Leff Nov 5, 2006 02:47 PM

                        Black Hound has a basket made of chocolate this is filled with chocolates on their website (http://www.blackhoundny.com/) but during the summer they had a chocolate cup and saucer filled with fresh fruit in the window that I thought would have made a perfect gift. I'm not a chocolate maven so I can't comment on the taste, but I love the creativity and packaging. Let us know what you decide.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: efdee
                          Jim Leff RE: efdee Nov 6, 2006 03:13 AM

                          That does sound good! But fwiw I went with the chocolate penguins (two of 'em) from burdick. Mail order after all....

                        2. f
                          fwgrep RE: Jim Leff Nov 6, 2006 03:23 AM

                          Just in case the mail order doesn't work out, try Teuscher Champagne Truffles - perfection!

                          1. p
                            Produce Addict RE: Jim Leff Nov 6, 2006 02:55 PM

                            Jacques Torres often has occasion specific chocolate pieces, like a big rooster for easter. check out their website cause they also have different chocolate candies -- like fancy chocolate pretzels with peanuts. Not sure if that's the type of thing you are looking for.

                            And the post on Kee's turtles reminded me of the chocolate place on West 4th just west of 6th has some great hand dipped -- not fancy looking chocolates, like homemade smores that i've posted about before.

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