i’ve been a huge alison nelson’s chocolate bar fan since they first opened up on eight avenue and jane street in 2002, conveniently about a block away from my best friend and so i would stop by there every time i would visit which was often. so it was tragic when about a year and a half ago chocolate bar opted to move to the east village. yes, it’s a nice location but one i was just not able to get to very often so i went on chocolate bar withdrawal. fortunately, this summer the shop with a retro sensibility returned to the west village into a slightly bigger spot with more room for hanging out.
while i generally like to come in and see what chocolate bar has for treats, i usually start out with some truffles. not quite as refined as kee’s which are of course excellent, but the chocolate is great (especially the dark) and the flavors are more modern/traditional so not crazy but not godiva either. my favorite flavors here include the salted caramel with fleur de sel, the raspberry and the passion fruit.
for gifts, chocolate bar also has these super cute retro bars – the graphics are great. flavors include a salty pretzel bar, malted milk and milk chocolate with hazelnuts and then some slightly wilder ones which i have not been adventuresome enough to try like key lime pie, caramel apple and coconut cream pie. in terms of snacks, the chocolate caramel popcorn is a keeper (i’m not as fond of their chocolate clusters probably because i just can’t stand white chocolate). sadly, chocolate bar no longer carries my very favorite treat which was this combination of dark chocolate, marshmallow and salty caramel in the shape of an overstuffed oreo. chocolate bar also often has a few cookies and brownies on hand.
while chocolate bar still has great truffles, the store did suffer some from the move as the shop feels a little less cozy and a little less tended to these days. the staff is less focused, the chocolate treats are not quite as amazing as they were and the baked goods are a bit lackluster. i think the change may have to do with alison nelson’s phenomenol expansion outside of new york. with plans for a grand total of 30 shops across the middle east (at least 3 are open already), and another 10 in india and pakistan, it’s easy to understand the distractions. i’m super glad for chocolate bar’s success, but i do hope that alison nelson directs some of her terrific talents back to the little shop that was her baby. alison nelson’s chocolate bar, 19 8th avenue between jane and west 12th streets, manhattan, new york, 212.366.1541. they also have a location on the third floor atrium of henri bendel at 712 fifth avenue at 56th street also in manhattan.