Wednesday, January 27, 2010

kee's chocolates

The next stop on my New York Chocolate Tour was Kee's Chocolates. This is one of the chocolate stores that comes steeped in legend. The people I know who consider themselves foodies, or a serious cacao connoisseurs, (note not "chocolate connoisseur" but a "cacao connoisseur" - you know the kind of person who is always saying "ca-ca-o" and you want to grab them sometimes, tie them up and force them to say "chocolate") all seemed to violently come to the conclusion Kees was "really goooood." Not the ordinary kind of good that comes out as one short syllabic burst but the kind of good that requires lots of extra o's, some inflection, and making an ecstasy face when saying it.

Kee's is conveniently located near a subway stop. You need to take the C/E line and get off at Spring Street. Don't take the B line like as I did even if someone tells you that you can because you end up in the Bronx. Then you have to reverse your steps, which is especially troublesome if you're channeling your inner Crazy Chinese Bag Lady and have a puffy coat on, a bag, purse and snow boots (because the heels of your cute boots snapped off at the airport the minute you walked off the plane. I realize my heel snapping off doesn’t explain the puffy coat but that’s too lengthy to get into here).

If you're not on the look out, you will walk right past the storefront. There is an awning that is clearly marked Kee's - but somehow it's easy to miss (though keep in mind that I am the kind of person who gets lost going home). However, for me this just added to me, the mystical allure of Kee's, as if I were discovering a secret.

The door is properly creaky and the store is really, really teeny, tiny. Miniscule. There is a counter and a narrow aisle so it's just you and the chocolate, not that that's a bad thing.

The first chocolate I inhaled is the one you see pictured, the
Crème brûlée. If a bon-bon can be sexy this bon-bon defines sexy. Composed of a dark chocolate shell and filled with fresh Crème brûlée this is a bon-bon that comes with instructions: you are recommended to put the whole thing in your mouth. Do not take this instruction lightly or assume it is easy because as bon-bons go - this is a large one, about one and a half inches in diameter and three quarters of an inch tall. Of course, I didn't have to be asked to do this twice. In it went. When I bit into the dark chocolate shell my mouth was filled with creamy, fresh, rich Crème brûlée. Divine. Heaven. Needless to say, I greedily purchased all the remaining Crème brûlées while saying in my head (I hope just in my head) "Mine, mine, all mine" like Daffy Duck. These have to be eaten promptly as they are made daily and last at most two days and only if they are properly refrigerated. Honestly, I just couldn't take that risk and therefore ate all of mine that evening. I know, the lengths I am willing to go for Chocolate Grail is really incredible. I deserve the Chocolate Heart of Valor.

The second chocolate I tried was the Black Sesame, that is currently featured on Kee's homepage. I have to admit that this particular chocolate has kept me up at night. It is a dark chocolate truffle coated with toasted white and dark sesame seeds. The rich, earthy dark chocolate just had a simply wonderful thick texture and the crunchy sesame seeds were toasted perfectly, one second from toasted-seed oblivion (all you cooks out there will know what I mean). It is so good that once you tasted Black Sesame you will instantly know that it appears on Kee's Chocolate's home page with good reason.

These first two chocolates precipitated a chocolate frenzy, which helped me begin to define how much chocolate I can eat in one sitting. Of note, I loved: the Almond- White chocolate truffles coated with toasted almonds; Honey Saffron - dark chocolate saffron with a taste of honey; and especially the Black Rose - dark chocolate truffle with black tea infused with rose petals - so unusual but wonderful.

When I left the store, clutching my bag of Crème Brulee’s, another woman was walking in. She asked me what I thought about the chocolates. I made my ecstasy face and answered "goooood."

kees chocolate contact information

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