Volume 73, Number 42 | February 18 - 24, 2004

Another chocolate store sweetens the mix in Village

By Melanie Wallis

The opening of a new chocolatier on Christopher St. has brought an air of Europe to the neighborhood with the shop’s selection of imported Belgian blended chocolate creations. The family-run business called Tulip opened in October, expanding from their well-established branch of the same name in New Jersey.

The Christopher St. store is owned and run by Alicia Felzenberg and her father, Bob Felzenberg, who takes charge of the marketing aspects of the business. All the chocolates in the shop are handmade at their New Jersey branch. Alicia, who has had special training at the French Culinary Institute in New York, has created a signature recipe called the fresh cream truffle. This creation is distinctive and must be refrigerated and can also be frozen. The fresh cream truffles are the most expensive product in the store, selling at $33 per lb.

When asked why they chose the Village to expand their business, Bob said it was because they were looking for a classy area. “It is a very arty and theater-related community and we wanted a sophisticated audience for our fresh cream truffle creation,” he said. He feels that the area has a lot of exposure with movies and TV programs choosing the area for filming. “We have had TV shows shooting here, such as ‘Sex and the City’ and ‘Third Watch,’ as well as model shoots, and the N.Y.U. film school students are constantly taking pictures,” he continued.

The other distinguishing aspect to Tulip is the personalized service they offer in which they will create solid chocolate shapes tailored to special requests of the customer. Some of the shapes have included chess sets, teddy bears, cell phones, sports themes and other novelty ideas. They had a wide variety of Valentine’s creations, using different color chocolate, including red.

“Not only do we provide heart-shaped chocolates, but we make a chocolate heart-shaped box too,” Bob said. “We made Valentine’s creations using white and red chocolate, using dark, white and milk chocolate; we have about one dozen different heart boxes,” he continued. These sets sell from $8-$65.

Tulip also offers a selection of sugar-free chocolates and all the items are made under kosher and parve supervision.

Tulip is the latest addition to the Village chocolate store collection. The oldest is Lilac, which was established in 1923. Lilac, which is also a family-run business, owned by Martha Bond, is also located on Christopher St. It has been in the same place since opening and still uses some of the same equipment.

“Some of the molds we use are antique,” said Anwar Khoder, the candy maker of Lilac. All the chocolates are made according to demand at the premises. “Our truffles always go fast; we have eight different types including champagne, rum, amaretto and fresh cream,” Khoder said. The other popular product that Lilac has is fudge. “I make the fudge from scratch — we don’t use pre-made mixes; that’s why people always come here for their fudge,” Khoder said. Lilac’s most expensive product are the truffles selling at $30 per lb.

Varsano’s, another member of the Village “Chocolate Triangle,” is on W. Fourth St. Owned by Marc Varsano, the store is eight years old. They too make all their chocolate on the premises. “Our chocolate is American chocolate, which is created using our own special formula,” said Varsano. When asked what their signature chocolate was he said without hesitation, “Almond bark, definitely.”

Tulip, 9 Christopher St., 212-243 1100; Lilac, 120 Christopher St., 212-242 7374; Varsano’s, 179 W. Fourth St., 212-352 1171.


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