New York is full of excellent chocolate shops, but it’s not every day that you get to roam a bona fide chocolate factory and see the treats come together right before your eyes. As of November 22, however, that’s exactly the experience Li-Lac Chocolates is offering at its new factory and store in Brooklyn. There, you’ll see delicious confections take shape and whiz by on conveyor belts, Lucy-and-Ethel-style, before you pop into the chocolate boutique and splurge on a few freshly-made treats.
Li-Lac has been churning out decadently smooth artisanal chocolates from scratch since 1923, but a visit to its new Industry City outpost will show you something brand new. At the 10,000-square-foot open factory, you and your sweetheart–that’s right, this has day date written all over it–can watch from behind enormous glass windows as rich chocolate is solifidied, pounded, or rolled into shape, and then sealed in little bags and boxes with beautiful ribbons and embellishments.
Take the marzipan acorns: You watch as Li-Lac’s special almond paste is molded into acorns and half-dipped into gooey chocolate, and you might find yourself humming strains of Willy Wonka’s “The Candy Man” when you see the butter crunch ingredients begin to boil in their copper kettle. The glossy mixture is poured onto marble tables that have been in use since Li-lac’s earliest days. (The cool marble helps to draw the heat out of the chocolate.) After it hardens, it gets cut into yummy little squares and coated in milk chocolate and almond dust. Meanwhile, you blissfully inhale the heavenly scents of roasting cacao and melted milk chocolate that pervade the space.
“It’s hard to tell people what we do in words, but when they see it for themselves, how every piece gets its own individual decoration, it’s an ah ha! moment,” explained Anthony Cirone, co-owner and president, during a media preview. “We wanted to show people the artistry of what we do.”
After looking into the factory, make your way inside to peruse the retail shop. Savor a free sample before checking out giant chocolate sculptures — grab a giant turkey or Santa Claus, and you’ll be the talk of your holiday dinner parties. If you find yourself unsure of what to take home, don’t panic, because you can’t go wrong no matter what you choose. Try the almond bark, where melt-in-your-mouth chocolate is infused with freshly roasted almonds. Or the hazelnut truffle squares – highly recommended by Cirone and his team — a three-layered confection featuring a dark chocolate outside and a creamy hazelnut milk chocolate inside. The secret recipe is a 1920s original from Li-Lac Chocolates’ founder George Demetrious, and it’s timelessly delicious.
The Industry City grand opening is coming up, so check it out and be a part of chocolate history.