Chocolate is a divine treat that people old and young can enjoy equally and the high-quality–essentially gourmet chocolate–offed by Li-Lac Chocolates will certainly delight anyone who has a sweet tooth.
L-Lac Chocolates holds the distinction of being Manhattan’s oldest chocolate house. Li-Lac Chocolates was established in 1923 by a Greek immigrant George Demetrious, who had studied the art of chocolate making in France. Upon moving to New York, George opened a shop on 120 Christopher Street in the heart of Greenwich Village which, during the 1920s, was a destination for artists, intellectuals and innovators. There, George created marvelous treats including Almond Bark, Butter Crunch, Hazelnut Truffle Squares, Legendary Fudge, and more.
Li-Lac Chocolates has since gone on to become a renowned producer of delicious–and beautifully designed–chocolates. Li-Lac prides itself on making old-world artisan chocolate in small batches for exceptional quality and superior taste – using original recipes, time-honored techniques, and quality ingredients. The company’s selection of fresh chocolate – more than 140 items – is one of the largest selections of fresh gourmet chocolate in America. Moreover, every delicious item is made by hand, locally in New York City, and guaranteed for freshness.
At present, Li-Lac Chocolates is in the hands of two long-time customers: Anthony Cirone and Christopher Taylor – residents of the West Village and Li-Lac patrons since the early 1990s. Anwar Khoder, Li-Lac’s Master Chocolater, joined the company in 1989 and is also a co-owner. Together this trio represents the fourth generation of Li-Lac owners. In 2014, the company built a new chocolate factory at Industry City in Sunset Park, Brooklyn where customers can look through oversize windows and see the chocolate-making process in action. In 2015, the company opened a new flagship store on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, and in 2016 they opened a store inside the historic Chelsea Market.
Recently co-owner Anthony Cirone spoke to the Examiner about his experiences working with Li-Lac Chocolates and his hopes for the company’s future:
Meagan Meehan (M.M.): When was Li-Lac Chocolates started and why was that specific name chosen?
Anthony Cirone (A.C.): Li-Lac Chocolates was started in 1923 by George Demetrious, a Greek immigrant who opened his shop on Christopher Street. We do not know the origins of the name.
M.M.: Right now how many different kinds of chocolates and treats do you offer?
A.C.: We offer about 140 different chocolate confections, most of which still use our founder’s original recipes and cooking techniques. Best selling items include Almond Bark, Butter Crunch, Pecan Chews, and our Legendary Fudge.
M.M.: Li-Lac Chocolates had some incredible designs–including a very detailed chess board. How do you think up ideas for your products? For example, do you ever work with inventors?
A.C.: We have one of the largest selections of unique chocolate molds in the world. We get ideas from everyone, including customers who never surprise us with special requests for unique and one-of-a-kind items.
M.M.: Are there any designs and/or desserts that you don’t offer now but hope to in the future? Essentially, how do you envision the product line expanding?
A.C.: We would love to expand into ice cream and hot chocolate but haven’t been able to devote the time to develop this yet, but hopefully soon!
M.M.: To date, what has been the most rewarding part of working with Li-Lac Chocolates?
A.C.: We have large following of loyal customers, many who have been coming to Li-Lac for many years. It’s always very rewarding to see customers in their 80s and 90s tell us about how they began shopping at Li-Lac when they were schoolgirls.
M.M.: Where do you hope Li-Lac Chocolates will be in ten years?
A.C.: We hope we will still be here, maybe with a few more stores and a bigger online business.
M.M.: What advice would you give to someone who is striving to enter the chocolate and/or candy industry?
A.C.: Reach out and support the local communities, who will in turn become your most loyal customers.
M.M.: Is there anything else that you would like to mention?
A.C.: We also specialize in making custom chocolates for business with their company’s logo, which is a perfect end-of year thank-you gift.
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To learn more about Li-Lac Chocolates visit the official website, Twitter and Facebook.