Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Raising the Bar

After a trip to chocolate bar, you’ll never look at a Snickers again.

Upon entering Alison Nelson’s chocolate bar, it takes the discipline of a monk to pass by the Kahlua-and-cream bonbons or decline a peppermint mocha. But ultimately chocolate bar is the destination for — you guessed it — chocolate bars. Happily, it doesn’t disappoint.

With flavors like milk sesame and white chocolate infused with lime, the big blocks of Brown Label chocolate ($6.25) are for true gourmands. Me, I went straight to the two lines that are more kid-in-a-candy-store-fun.

Retro Bars ($3) boast such nostalgic ingredients as raspberry jam and caramel apple, but are made with today’s high-quality cocoa. Of the six flavors, the Salty Pretzel is the most popular with its nearly perfect sweet-salty balance and delicately crunchy texture. But for my money, the scene-stealer is the Peanut Butter Caramel, which tastes like a Tagalong Girl Scout cookie — very nostalgic, indeed.

To counter the guilt of chomping into a 2.25-ounce chocolate bar, try an Artist Bar ($4). The ten flavors come in wrappers designed by cool pop artists, such as Gary Baseman and David Horvath, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Third Street Music School Settlement in the East Village. The Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts is enveloped in a portrait of a red Cyclops in mid-bite, and is all the invitation I need to tear in myself.

Chocolate Bar
48 8th Avenue

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