I bought my mom a Groupon for a New York City Chocolate Tour provided by Great New York Tours for Mother’s Day, and yesterday, we finally went and redeemed it. As a long time New York resident I don’t know that I’ve ever been on an official tour of my own city. I certainly have no desire to be dragged around to the same buildings I maneuver past every day; but stepping outside the chaotic tourist zones of Times Square and Wall Street to the charm and peace of the West Village while indulging in top quality chocolate proved to be a delightful respite from my daily New York rush.
The tour meets outside of Chelsea Market; the only really “touristy” area on the whole tour, which is somewhat bizarre since it never goes INTO Chelsea Market. My recommendation, go to Highline Park an hour before your tour begins for a stroll, then take a pass through Chelsea Market and meet your tour on the other end.
The first two official tour stops were Lilac Chocolates and Chocolate Bar; both adorable little shops nestled in the West Village serving up little niblets of chocolates for all of us to try. Note: There were 17 people on our tour so getting in and out of these boutique-like shops was a bit of a challenge, forget having room to take a look around. I’ve heard they cap the tours at 20 people, I’d cap them at 10.
Anyway… we wound our way through some of the most enchanting streets in Manhattan with the occasional factoid from our tour guide (My personal favorite factoid: the owners of the famed “Sex and the City” apartment rope off their front stoop and ask those posing for pictures in front of the house to leave a donation).
Next stop, Magnolia Bakery, also made popular by “Sex and the City”. We each got an ENTIRE cupcake. Chocolate on chocolate. By this point, I was ALREADY getting full.
We continued to the nearby, Milk and Cookies Bakery, which I strongly recommend. Located a few doors down from Washington Irving’s historical home, this cozy, fragrant bakery is definitely worth a visit. Double chocolate chip cookies here. I could’ve gone for a good old fashioned chocolate chip cookie at this point, it was A LOT of chocolate. We bought some milk to wash it down and took some empty bags to save the halves of the cookies we couldn’t finish. PS. This worked out brilliantly for the rest of the tour. Bring a bag you can store some of your treats in for later!
My absolute favorite spot on the tour was this fairly new and ultra modern chocolate shop in SOHO, Xocolatti. We sampled their signature white chocolate with mango and paprika- it was heaven in my mouth. My dad, a chocolate traditionalist, was not as thrilled as me, but for those who like an inventive, flavorful twist on a classic, this is the place for you!
We ended the tour at Vosges, which offered over the top, playful décor and a sample of their bacon chocolate. As a vegetarian, I opted out of that tasting, but the other flavors around the store looked quite appealing, though admittedly out of my price range.
With a guided tour of eight chocolate shops in the West Village and SOHO, each with it’s own sample (more than you could possibly eat in one sitting… don’t forget the bag), this tour is a pretty rockstar way to spend two hours in New York City for tourists and locals alike. With the discount, it was $19 per person, keeping my wallet and sweet tooth satisfied.
This was a deal worth having!