Do you have a favorite chocolate shops? Here are mine…

Chocolates are probably one of the most popular items to buy your loved one on Valentine’s Day and I have a few favorite shops you may want to consider when buying a box. When it comes to chocolates, I definitely prefer ones with unique flavors, like balsamic, kaffir lime and honey saffron (photo below), which is why Kee’s is probably my most favorite of all. And some of the shops have seats where you can sit and nibble chocolates and/or hot chocolate with your loved ones. You might have your favorite places where you buy chocolates, but trust me, these are worth a visit, whether for Valentine’s Day or any occasion.

Kee Chocolates/80 Thompson St in Soho/212-334-3284
This is my all-time favorite chocolate shop in NYC. The owner, King Ling Tong, makes all the chocolates herself, and she uses all fresh ingredients. With flavors like crème brûlée, Earl Grey, elderflower, kaffir lime, thai chili and mirabelle plum, your taste buds will be pleasantly surprised. Her macarons are also incredible (my daughter is a big fan of them).

Michel Cluizel/584 5th Avenue/646-415-9126
This mid-town shop has seats where you can enjoy a dessert-only dining experience complete with chocolate cocktails. You can read more about it in my interview with Jacques Dahan of Michel Cluizel in Haute Living.

Marie Belle/484 Broome St/212-925-6999
This Soho shop is so pretty I love stopping in to look at Marie Belle’s gorgeous chocolates that look as if they’ve been hand-painted. There is also a Cacao Bar in the back where you can linger over a hot chocolate, including the Spicy, Aztec and my favorite, Milk and Hazelnut.

Jacques Torres Chocolates/various locations around the city/212-414-2462
Jacques Torres has a few shops around the city, in the West Village, Chelsea Market, and Upper West Side, but my favorite location is in Dumbo. Not only does he sell outstanding chocolates, but he also sells chocolate chips for baking and cookie mixes. His Valentine’s Day offerings range from racy (raspberry caramel body paint) to adorable (an “I Love You” chocolate puzzle).

I’d love to hear about your favorite places to buy chocolates.