I always say that I love chocolate but can't be bothered with chocolate desserts. Chocolate on its own is so fabulous that I find that few chocolatey confections can top the deep pleasure that is an 85% Valrhona bar. I do make a notable exception for excellent chocolate truffles, which heretofore essentially meant anything from La Maison du Chocolat and virtually nothing else.
But a few months back I discovered a La Maison competitor mere blocks from my office. In the old Fleur de Sel space on West 20th Street, the exquisite L.A. Burdick has taken up residence.
The shop itself is charming, as are the shop girls who man the chocolate laden counter. But most importantly, the product is stunningly good.
Their little chocolate mice and chocolate penguins are adorable, the coffee is quite good (although it still doesn't hold a candle to my beloved Stumptown, but then nobody does) and the orange hazelnut cake is tender as can be, but I have to admit that once I discovered the pave glace I pretty much abandoned all other L.A. Burdick related pursuits.
These smooth cubes of hazelnut and dark chocolate dusted with bitter cocoa are perfection. Well, not quite. I'm afraid I do end up with a light dusting of brown down the front of an otherwise pure white button down shirt more often than I'd like. But it is a small price to pay.