40 Eighth Ave.
at Jane St.
Grand Central Market
Lexington Ave. at E. 43rd St.
213 50th Street
between 2nd/3rd Avenues
While others may praise some artisanal new-comers to New York's chocolate hall of fame, Li-Lac is my absolute favorite chocolate maker. They still use old-fashioned hand-dipping methods and keep traditional flavors in their collection. Like hand-made peppermint patties, fudge, chocolate covered caramels, and my favorite, the bittersweet chocolate-covered orange peels.
It's fine to lust for imported champagne truffles, but I consider Li-Lac to be the center of the candy universe. It's worth a journey to buy your holiday candy here or even for just a treat. At Easter they sell artisanal pectin jelly beans that will put you off Jelly Babies forever -- they actually have flavor in addition to being sweet. The store's packaging can be quaint but in a way that's charming and fun. Prices aren't stratospheric, making it easy to expand your selections (and waistlines).
The store celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2013.
What to know:
The main store is in the Village with a small but convenient outpost in the Grand Central Market. Its factory is in Brooklyn.
The Brooklyn factory also has a shop but it's only open Monday through Friday, 9:00 to 5:00.