441 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Open: Sunday 12:00pm-5:00pm/Monday-Friday 10:00am-7:00pm/Saturday 11:00am-6:00pm
My review on TripAdvisor:
I have stopped in at the Hotel Chocolat a few of times over the last couple of months and have found that the store has the most amazing candies, chocolates and ice cream creations. The store had been closed during the COVID pandemic but reopened with a nice manager with a big smile and hearty greeting. I have never been so warmly welcomed to a store before.
I had been staying in Manhattan over the Spring Break, working on updating my blog on ‘Midtown East’ for my sister site “MywalkinManhattan.com” and revisited the store again. There were all sorts of beautifully boxed chocolates for sale for the upcoming Easter holidays as well as every day candies.
The candies here are creatively made and packaged with all sorts of colored tops and designs the embellishing them. There are plain chocolates in both milk and dark and many with fillings of different flavors that include truffles, nougats and creams. They have a selection of white chocolate as well. They even sell hot chocolate powder for a rich beverage to drink at home.
Each piece of chocolate here looks like a piece of art
There are small bags of chocolates that are perfect a long walk around the City and larger gift boxes with a selection of different flavored candies to present as the perfect gift. What I liked was that the candies that were left over from the Valentine’s Day holiday were on sale and I got to sample many different creams and raspberry filled items which were delicious (see my reviews on TripAdvisor).
What really stood out was their café items that they offered in the Lexington Avenue store. They had hot chocolate and ice cream in cups and cones but what I enjoyed was their Billionaire’s Sundae. This rich decadent sundae was made from their vanilla soft serve with crispy pearls, chocolate shortbread and two different sauces caramel and chocolate.
When I was walking in another customer ordered it and the manager described what she was making to me. Then I had to have one. It must have looked that good because as I started to eat mine the customer who came after me ordered one as well. It had such a complex sweet flavor to it and a nice crackle due to the candy pearls and chocolate shortbread. It was the perfect dessert.
The Billionaires Sundae is decadent and rich
I was impressed by the service and selection of Hotel Chocolat and their Lexington Avenue store really stands out with the way they welcome their customers to the store.
The History of Hotel Chocolat:
When the first Hotel Chocolat shop opened its doors to guests in North London in 2004, it was the start of a revolution in British chocolate. Two entrepreneurs, Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris, were on a mission to make chocolate exciting again. Today we have 103 shops as well as cafes and restaurants. We have opened our first three boutiques in Copenhagen and we have a hotel on our working cacao farm in the Caribbean. It’s been a busy period of change and growth but everything we do is still guided by the three basic values that we started with and it always will be.
What we believe in:
We’re constantly striving to be fresh and innovative and always on surprising step ahead.
Their beautifully packaged chocolates are the perfect gift
Chocolate starts at the roots of the cacao tree. So we got stuck in.
You work too hard for bad chocolate. They work too hard for cheap cacao. We’ve been raising the bar for cacao-growing since 2002.
How that makes our chocolate different:
Right from the start, we’ve never played by the rules of what people said a chocolate company should be.
When we first started making our Easter eggs more than a decade ago, we were advised by experts to make then as thin as possible. We did the opposite, opting for ridiculously thick shells that are still satisfying snapple.
Everybody said a bar of chocolate should be regularly divided into bite sized pieces but squares are so boring, so we broke the mold and made out now iconic Giant Slabs, inspired by the shape of molten chocolate when you pour it onto the cool marble of a chocolatier’s table. More recently, we reinvented our smaller Slabs for our Rare & Vintage range, inspired by the crisp lines of pleated fabric to create a unique aesthetic that’s both functional and beautiful.
But all this only scratches the surface. We’ve also created the world’s first singe-cote chocolate, developed our own chocolate genre. Supermilk, innovated with cocoa cuisine from spiced cocoa nib ketchup to white chocolate horseradish and even cocoa gin and the invention goes on. We’re constantly embracing new technologies and ideas.
We’re one of the world’s few chocolate makers to actually grow cacao, on our beautiful Rabot Estate farm in Saint Lucia. Connecting cacao-growing with luxury chocolate making and retailing makes us unique in the UK and gives us an in-depth understanding of the factors that impact the final flavor of our chocolate, right from the growing tree.
Centuries ago, Mayans revered the potent cacao bean as a gift from the Gods but somewhere along the way its power has been lost in translation. As sugar prices have dropped, British chocolate has focused increasingly on sweetness. Today, sugar is 20 times cheaper than cocoa and a typical bar of milk chocolate contains more than twice as much sugar as cocoa.
Making our chocolates, our mantra has always been ‘More Cacao, Less Sugar’. Cocoa will always be our number one ingredient, even in milk and white chocolate. Most of the world’s ‘chocolate’ is laden with sugar. Flip over the next bar you see and check.
Our house grade milk chocolates, meanwhile are 40% and 50% cocoa and even our white chocolate is 36% cocoa, well above the average. This balance of cocoa to sugar is crucial; high levels of sugar dull the flavors of the cocoa itself, denying you all those nuanced notes such as citrus, red and yellow fruits, coffee and brownie and masking the quality of the cocoa so that poorer types can be used. We’re also committed to using only real, natural ingredients, nothing artificial ever. Nature supplies all we need.
And it’s not just in our ingredients and the growing of our cacao that we’re authentic, we also know where our ideas come from. Every month our chocolatiers are hard at work crafting brand new recipes in our Cambridgeshire inventing room for our Tasting Club members.
We have a deep sense of fairness that extends to our farmers, our customers and future generations.
We believe cocoa farmers deserve respect and a fair deal. Our Engaged Ethics program has already transformed the lives of many in Ghana and on Saint Lucia and we only just getting started.
For our customers, we’ll never put seasonal products on sale before the big day, so that those who buy early can buy with confidence. And for future generations, we’re committed to reducing waste; we use every part of the cacao bean, such as the cacao shells in our teaolat infusions and we don’t throw out chocolates just because they don’t look quite right. Misshapen chocolates that are still made with our premium ingredients go into our Ugly but Good bags.
Chocolate and beyond:
It’s a question we’re asked a lot and yes, Hotel Chocolat does have a hotel; the beautiful Boucan on our Rabot Estate in the Caribbean, where we’ve created a unique Anglo-Saint Lucian dining experience with a twist of cocoa. We brought that experience home to Britain too launching the Rabot 1745 restaurant in London in 2013.
Our cafes are yet another innovation; brining together cacao growing, chocolate making, drinks and food, we’re reviving the ritual of drinking chocolate alongside a carefully curated menu of tea, coffee and snacks including our moreish brownies.
Then there are our Schools of Chocolate. Here we take the appreciation of chocolate to a new level with our Tasting Adventure and teach you to create your own with Bean-to-Bar Experiences.
You could say we’ve been busy and we still are, but whatever we’re doing, we know that it’s only possible because you, our customers. We’ve loved bringing you new ways to experience cocoa since we started out over 20 years ago.
(The Hotel Chocolat website-Company Statement)