Elegant, Non-Showy (and Delicious) Chocolate Gift
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.
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.
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.
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.
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....
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.
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???
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.
re: Jim Leff
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.
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
692 5th Ave (Midtown
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.
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.