Earlier in June, I had the pleasure of going on the Chocolate Tour of New York, hosted by Great New York Tours. I first discovered this deal on Groupon and couldn’t pass it up. It’s $25 for one ticket and $45 for two, as opposed to $50 for one ticket through the Great New York Tours website. If you have a sweet tooth and enjoy learning a little about New York City history, this tour is for you.
The tour is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a two-hour walking tour to eight locations to sample chocolate varieties, and it’s not just truffles or chocolate bars. We were given cookies, cupcakes, macarons, etc. I can guarantee that you will leave the tour satisfied and in a sugar coma. Make sure to bring lots of water and wear comfortable shoes. Also, I justified it as we are walking off what we try along the way, so that makes it okay, right?
Our tour first met in front of Chelsea Market, one of my favorite food meccas in New York City. This place has everything: an Italian grocery store, restaurants galore, and even Food Network, Cooking Channel, and Food.com offices. We then began our journey, starting in the West Village and ending in SoHo.
Li-Lac Chocolates: This is the oldest chocolate shop in Manhattan. We were given the maple walnut cream fudge to try, which was amazing. And ironically, it wasn’t chocolate. What stood out most were the novelty chocolate items. It’s amazing to how chocolate can be sculpted to be anything you want it to be. There was an Empire State Building, cats, and even a life-sized handbag. It’s a great place to buy gifts, just make sure it doesn’t melt by picking up one of their cooler bags for $2.99!
Chocolate Bar: This was probably my favorite place on the tour because although it boasts chocolate, they have a great coffee area. In addition, they have liquid chocolate, which is like a cold hot chocolate. My biggest regret was not trying out a mocha here or picking up a molé chocolate bar because I love coffee and spicy chocolate but didn’t want to be full so early on. But, I guess this just gives me a reason to come back.
Magnolia Bakery: Now I’m no stranger to Magnolia, as they were made famous by Sex and the City, but this was my first time at their flagship. In the past, I was not a huge fan of their cupcakes because their frosting is too buttery for my taste. But, the chocolate cupcake was amazing. We were each given our own mini cupcake. I definitely recommend those rather than something like their pistachio flavored cupcake.
Milk and Cookies Bakery: This was an adorable cookie shop. First off, there aren’t many shops dedicated solely to cookies. We tried the double chocolate cookie, which was the most chocolatey item on the tour. I also bought a s’mores cookie, which was pretty good. I kept hearing about a Bacon Smack cookie that I think is worth trying if you can get your hands on it. It’s has maple syrup, candied Neuskes cherry wood smoked bacon, dried cranberries, 72% dark chocolate chunks, toffee, and graham cracker pieces. Very cozy bakery and all of the cookies are made fresh.
Bisous Ciao Macarons: Macarons are one of my weaknesses. Not only are they adorable, when you eat one it’s like biting into a cloud with a dense, chewy center. Naturally, we tried chocolate macarons. What stood out to me here was the colorful selection! They had raspberry with a raspberry filling, lavender honey, rose, and black sesame. They also have delivery options to ship around the contingent 48 states, which is nice.
Pasticceria Bruno Bakery: This was a cute, Italian family-owned bakery that reminded me of a place that could have made an appearance in an episode of The Sopranos. We tried cannolis, which were better than the ones I had at a place in Little Italy that claimed to have the best in the world. Something that caught my eye was a pastry called the Daffle, a waffle-doughnut hybrid. At this point, my tolerance for sweets was dwindling, so I did not try it. But it definitely grabbed my attention with flavors like red velvet, Nutella, and maple syrup.
xocolatti: This was the most modern chocolate boutique of the tour with interesting chocolate combos like the olive oil basil truffle and sake truffle topped with a blue tint. We tried the mango paprika slate, which was a white chocolate bark with dried orange and mango bits and paprika. Honestly, this was my least favorite. I liked the spiciness, but the mango with white chocolate threw me off because it was so sweet.
Vosges Haut Chocolat: I looked forward to this place the most. Back in February, I bought my boyfriend their Mo’s Milk Chocolate Bacon Bar, which is TO DIE FOR. Bacon and chocolate together are a heavenly pair. I highly recommend trying it because it is life-changing. We tried a sea salt chocolate, which was good, but definitely nothing like the bacon chocolate. Because this was my first time at their brick and mortar, I used a Foursquare special to get a free truffle. I was in the mood for spicy chocolate all day, so I opted for the Red Fire truffle with ancho chiles, cinnamon, cacao, and Venezuelan dark chocolate. It had a nice kick, but it definitely does not top the bacon chocolate bar. I’m not sure anything does.
I would most definitely do another Great New York Tour. Our tour guide was very nice and knowledgeable. He also kept us engaged and pointed out pieces of history along the way, like Chumley’s, a legendary speakeasy, and the timeline of the Meatpacking District. Get a group of your friends together to join, it’s the perfect girls day out activity. Happy sampling!