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HALLOWEEN: Creative Witch & Pumpkin Chocolate

We’ve seen a lot of Halloween chocolate, but the best molded chocolate of the season are from Li-Lac Chocolates in New York City: a witch carrying her jack-o’-lantern (at right) and a jack-o’-lantern filled with candy corn (photo below).

Li-Lac, founded in 1923, is a Manhattan institution. Before the eruption of the artisan food movement in the 1980s, there were only two chocolate shops on the entire West Side of Manhattan Island: Li-Lac Chocolates in Greenwich Village, and Mondel’s Chocolates in Morningside Heights, across the street from Columbia University (it opened in 1943).

Happily, in this town of real estate sturm und drang, where family businesses regularly “loose their leases*,” these chocolatiers have survived.

 
*When the old lease expires, the current, sky-high New York City rents make it impossible for many shopkeepers to keep their doors open.

 

A witch carries her own jack-o’-lantern in this beautiful molded piece. Photo courtesy Li-Lac Chocolates.

 

A NEW YORK INSTITUTION

In our childhood, we’d take the subway down to Greenwich Village to the original Christopher Street location for some of everything. Our favorites were green marzipan acorns with dark chocolate tops, and chocolate-covered orange peel. McNulty’s Tea & Coffee was (and still is!) right across the street—for decades, the only store devoted to fine, loose tea and coffee beans. This was our first solo “gourmet expedition.”

Li-Lac was founded in 1923 by a Greek expatriat, George Demetrious, who had studied the art of chocolate-making in France. During the 1920s and through the 1960s, New York City’s Greenwich Village was a Bohemian destination for artists, intellectuals and innovators. They didn’t have to go far for good chocolate, coffee or tea.

 


This jack-o’-lantern hides a secret: His head
isfull of candy corn! Photo courtesy Li-Lac
Chocolates.
  DEFINITELY OLD SCHOOL

For 90 years, Li-Lac has remained true to its history and tradition, eschewing automation and trendiness (no beer and pretzel caramels or chipotle chocolate) to continue production of the original recipes in small-batch production techniques. The company proudly bills itself as “stubbornly old-fashioned.”

In 2005, rising rents forced Li-Lac to move from its original Christopher Street location. It found new retail quarters some seven blocks away at 40 Eighth Avenue (at Jane Street). There’s another location in Midtown at 109 East 42nd Street. Production moved to Brooklyn.

Li-Lac’s selection of fresh artisanal chocolate includes more than 140 items—one of the largest selections of fresh gourmet chocolate in America. Take a look at Li-Lac Chocolates.com.

 

PARTY ON SUNDAY

If you’re in New York City, this Sunday, November 3rd, Li-Lac is celebrating its 90th anniversary at its Greenwich Village store, 40 Eighth Avenue at Jane Street. From 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. the public is welcome to stop by.

The company will sell four original chocolate confections at the 1923 prices of 23¢ apiece. There will be complimentary wine pairings by Sparkling Pointe Vineyards and Winery, and the Kitchen Opera Company will provide musical interludes.

  




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