I have been a fan of L.A. Burdick Chocolate ever since my love brought me a surprise sweet gift from here, several years ago. They have all sorts of handmade chocolates, from Bonbons, Truffles, Caramels and few other delectable and adorable items.
They moved to its current location on Prince Street a little while ago. I think it is a bit smaller than their previous location, but they still have some seating area, with around five tables. The inside had kind of Victorian feel to it, with vintage decoration, chandeliers and wallpapers.
One thing unchanged is their elegant and delectable offerings. L.A. Burdick was first established in 1987 in NYC by Larry Burdick, who had passion for fine cuisine and chocolate. He discovered a wonderful world of handmade chocolate in Switzerland, which led him to open his own chocolate shop in NYC. With its success, there are several locations of his shops and cafés today.
I believe they are most known for their whimsical chocolate items, especially the chocolate mice. Just look at these cute little guys! I hear that the leftover ganache, yarn remnants and starry-eyed children inspired these signature mice to come to life. They also have chocolate bars, cakes, and hot chocolate mix that comes with a little whisk!
We visited in late October, so they had some Halloween-themed items. They had a large haunted house, and on their, there were ghosts and spiders chocolate. They have different little creatures and characters based on the season. For example, they will have turkey for Thanksgiving, snowman in the Winter, bunny for Easter, and so on and so on.
On this day, we were visiting this chocolate heaven for a very special event. Chocolate and Coffee Pairing event. I know! What could be better than that? (ok, maybe chocolate and champagne pairing…) Since this location is a café, they serve coffee. Before they could do that, they had to find the perfect coffee to be served with their delicate and delicious chocolates. Their search ended in Brooklyn, with the coffee shop called Devoción, who serves the “freshest coffee on Earth.” This event was very educational, I learned a lot about chocolate flavors and coffee-making process and whatnot.. We got to meet the chocolatier, Michael and the owner of Devoción, Steven.
The first paring was The Burdick and Latte. The Burdick ($5.50) is made with layers of japonaise (almond meringue cookie) and dark chocolate ganache with a hint of rum. Topped with shaved white chocolate and pistachio. Since we are doing a tasting with several pastries and chocolates, we received a half portion of regular The Burdick. As most course dinner would be, we are starting with most mild form of flavors, increasing its intensity towards the end. Pastries has less intensity in chocolate, and therefore milder in flavor.
It was paired with Latte ($4.25) in a smaller cup, since we will be drinking total of four kinds of coffee. Latte is a much milder form of coffee, since it is blended with a lot of milk. The softer flavor of coffee to be paired with pastry, so not to overpower the pastry but to compliment each other. Before I go into the flavors, let me tell you the reason why L.A. Burdick chose to partner with Devoción. It is because they share the same philosophy: providing the highest quality product and commitment to its freshness. Devoción was founded in 2006, and is the first exclusively farm to table coffee company in the world. What I learned is that “fresh coffee” does not mean when it was roasted. In reality, normal coffee is 6 month to a year old, then freshly roasted. Coffee beans are alive, so they diminish overtime, even during the processing and transportation. At Devoción, their beans are dry-milled in Bogota and shipped to the USA just 10 days. I think they do have the title of the freshest coffee on Earth.
The coffee they served us was called Toro, which has the notes of cacao, vanilla, cherry and almond. We had the pastry and coffee as instructed. First, we took a bite off of The Burdick to appreciate its flavor on its own, then took a sip of latte, and had another bite. How the flavor changed with coffee was incredible! Not that it tasted completely differently, but it enhanced a flavor of somethings that I didn’t notice so much before. In this case, I tasted more almond in the pastry, which was empowered by the nutty almond flavor of coffee. Amazing how a sip of awesome coffee can wake up certain flavors in a pastry! The latte was quite awesome, with the creamy-ness of milk enhanced its cacao flavored in the coffee, with velvety finish.
The next pairing was Linzer Torte ($5.50) and Americano ($2.25). Linzer Torte is a traditional Austrian torte with hazelnut, almonds, cinnamon, and clove, filled with raspberry jam. Again, we are not getting the full portion of the torte sold here, so that we can continue to have the tasting.
This pastry and coffee are both stronger in flavor profile. We tried them the same way, first getting a bite off the Linzer Torte, then had it with coffee. This time, it enhanced its flavor if the spices in the pastry with coffee. I could taste more cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg in it, which was really cool. Another thing was the notes of cherry from the coffee with the flavor of raspberry jam that went great together. Together, the Linzer Torte and Americano harmonized and balanced each other.
Next up was Bonbons paired with Cappuccino. Their bonbons are paired already, so comes with two kinds of bonbons each. We got Macallan & Chartreuse Bonbons, and Brazilia & Kenyan Bonbons.
Macallan & Chartreuse Bonbons are spirits bonbons, meaning, made with alcoholic ingredients. Macallan is made with 12-year-old Macallan whisky. It has dark ganache with pistachio and whiskey marzipan layered on top, coated with dark chocolate and ganache with whiskey. Topped off with pistachio on top. It is paired with Chartreuse Bonbon. Chartreuse is made from brandy and aromatic herbs, and this bonbon is the strongest in flavor of all the four bonbons. It is a dark chocolate bonbon with green Chartreuse, topped with lime zest.
Brazilia and Kenyan are coffee bonbons. Brazilia bonbon is made with dark chocolate with espresso, and a touch of kirsch and anise seed. Kenyan bonbon is made with dark chocolate ganache infused with Kenyan coffee and kirsch. It is coated with milk chocolate, which makes the quite pronounced and strong flavor of coffee to be more mellow and soft. It is topped with ground Kenyan coffee for added texture.
And the pairing was match made in heaven. The bonbons enhanced with flavor of cocoa and spices in the coffee, and the cappuccino enhanced the nutty flavor and spices in the chocolate. Bonbons alone will give a strong dark chocolate flavor which are more dominant, but the cappuccino brought out all the side dancers into the center stage. Same goes for the coffee as well, with the flavors from the bonbons, each of the notes of the coffee got to be under the spot light.
The last paring are different kinds of Bonbons with Espresso. We got Richelieu, Fig, and another one that was made just for this event called Latte.
Fig Bonbon is made with dark chocolate ganache with fig and port wine. Richelieu Bonbon is made with milk and dark chocolate interior with cherry liqueur, cherries, and cumin seeds. These looked like a chocolate with pretty flowers on top, even though they were dried fig and cherry. Elegant and sophisticated.
The third one is a completely new chocolate, made with cáscara. Coffee plant, that grows coffee cherries. When you open the cherry, there is a bean in the inside, which becomes. The outer skin of the cherry fruit that held the bean, or “husk” is what is called Cascara. The husk of the cherry fruit is extremely rich in antioxidant. This bonbon is made with dark chocolate ganache and cascara, and another ganache with white chocolate infused with coffee beans. layered it together, coated in dark chocolate, topped with white chocolate swirl, mimicking latte art on top.
You get to have the flavor of the cascara and coffee in Latte Bonbon, which is enhanced with the flavor of espresso. The cherry flavor in the coffee is brought out with the bonbons. With each bite, they compliment and enhance something different after the paired it with coffee. These are the strongest when it comes to flavor, both in coffee and chocolate. It was an excellent way to end the pairing samples.
I am not a huge coffee fan, but I became a fan of Devoción coffee for sure. It was very high quality with deep, complex flavors that worked very well with each chocolate and cake that were paired with. They enhanced the flavor of each other, bringing out the hidden taste of spice and other nutty flavors.
I also enjoyed meeting and talking with the chocolatier Michael, and the owner of Devoción, Steven along with their brewmaster, Nick. With the event being so small and intimate, it provided me with a wonderful opportunity to learn so much about the chocolate, and coffee. I can now appreciate them more. And, now I know where to take some coffee lovers…I am sure any coffee lovers will be impressed with the flavor and quality of Devoción coffee!
We went back to L.A. Burdick a few weeks later to get a gift for my friend who loves gourmet food. And for someone like that, this is the place to get a perfect delicious gift. Who can say not to chocolates made with highest quality of coco, with no preservatives, no artificial colors, and no artificial flavoring. They are all handmade (except for one). They do not use mold, which require more talent and most of all, love. My friend was super happy to receive the gift, of course.
We will be back for more sweets and coffee in a near future… And they also have hot chocolate, perfect for cold months! If you are looking for a unique, delicious, and adorable or beautiful gift, give this place a try! You can always buy a gift to someone you love the most…YOU!
L.A. Burdick Chocolate – 156 Prince St, New York, NY 10012