Old World Treats at Li-Lac Chocolates

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[Photos: Kathy Chan]

At first glance, Li-Lac Chocolates looks like your typical old-world chocolate shop, still standing amidst a particularly chic stretch of the West Village. The names of the chocolates, their presentation, their case, and even the signage all look unremarkable and dated. But there's something special hiding inside.

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The funny thing about Li-Lac is that they might not even know their biggest strengths. The server recommended Busch Almond Logs with green marzipan filling, which were delicious, but not nearly as memorable as the Peanut Butter Puffs (which she said nothing about).

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These were only about the size of a squared quarter, but the thick dark chocolate shell packed concentrated peanut butter flavor of the most crunchy, nutty, buttery kind.

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She also recommended the Nut Truffle Rolls, which are essentially hazelnut ganache rolled in crushed hazelnuts. It's a hit for anyone who loves Nutella, and far superior to what you'd get in a jar.

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Butterscotch crunch had the familiar sweetness of Werther's candies I'd loved as a kid, except brittle and a whole lot more sophisticated. I could eat a whole box of them in a sitting.

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My favorite, though, was the Molasses Sponge, which sounds a whole lot less appetizing than it is. Don't eat it all in one bite, as you'll miss the artistry of what's insideā€”a beautiful, honeycomb-like filling of finely spun molasses, like sugar art inside a chocolate wrapping. The flavor is deep and rich, combined with a super-satisfying crisp that yields into melty delight. If that's Old World, I'd be happy to see more of the city's chocolatiers looking back for inspiration.

Li-Lac Chocolates

40 Eighth Avenue, New York NY 10014 (map) 212-924-2280
www.li-lacchocolates.com