NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
by Ed Levine
VARSANO'S Chocolates, 172 W. Fourth (212- 352- 1171), just up the street from Sheridan Square, offers a luscious selection of fine chocolates, hand-dipped daily on the premises by its owner/proprietor, in a mind boggling array of shapes and sizes. Some choices for the Dad with a sweet tooth seen here on a recent visit included hefty chocolate models of Porsches, Mercedes, Farraris, motorcycles and Jeeps, tools, such as wrenches or screws; guitars; portable phones; CD's; beepers; rollerblades; paint brushes edged in colorful nonpareil "paint"; basketballs or baseballs in clear acetate tubes; ribbon awards; mini earthenware flowerpots filled with colorful foil-wrapped flowers; champagne bottle; as well as an endless assortment in such contemporary shapes including hockey pucks, computers, blow dryers, barbells, boxing gloves, tennis sets, golf bags and balls, theater tickets and more. And, of course, featured are such delights as Varsano's assorted chocolates, the likes of chocolate cashew cranberry crunch or Australian glazed apricots and truffles; their best-selling pretzel caramel rods, dipped in caramel and covered with chocolate; sleek little half-milk, half-dark chocolate "Marc" (after Varsano's Owner) bars; gifty silvery octagonal trays or assorted chocolates in solid chocolate baskets; as well as fresh nuts and old-fashioned candies the likes of jelly beans, gummy bears and Swedish fish. Varsano's Chocolates is open seven days a week from noon - 8 p.m. All major credit cards. Custom gift baskets and gratis gift wrapping.
I wasn't really hungry the first time I walked past Varsano's.In fact, I was stuffed after eating a fabulous plate of grilled sausages at the remarkably good (and cheap) Italian restaurant Po. But somehow, no matter how full I am, when I see a sign advertising chocolates hand-dipped daily, I have to check them out.
I walked up the stairs and stared at a case filled with lovely chocolates. I asked the salesperson, who turned out to be the owner, Marc Varsano, what was good. He said to try the pecan patties, which were so fresh they were still warm. The pecans were crunchy, the caramel was creamy and smooth, and the dark chocolate coating was of surprisingly high quality.
I asked him what else I should try. He said the pretzel rods covered with caramel and dark chocolate. It seemed like a ridiculous combination, but I loved it. Next up was a piece of dark chocolate bark with dried cranberries, kind of a homemade Nestle's Crunch bar and a coffee marshmallow. They were all terrific.
I paid for my chocolate, and waddled down the stairs. Next time, I vowed, I'll be strong enough to pass that chocolate sign by without stopping.
172 W. Fourth
(between Sixth and Seventh Avenues.)
(reprinted with permission of the author, food critic, Ed Levine)
"The sea salt dark chocolate desserts are awesome. I am not a sweets person and I loved everything, that says allot because I rarely eat chocolate or any sweet for that matter."
"Hands down, my favorite is the dark chocolate smores."
"Salted Caramels...chocolate pretzel....by far the most amazing chocolate shop in NYC. LOVE!"
"Hands down some of the best chocolate Ive had, in the U.S. or even (gasp) Europe. "
"His hand-dipped candied Australian apricots are also phenomenal. Chocolate-dipped marzipan? Amazing! Whatever your chocolate tastes are, he has something for you. "
"Simply the best chocolate I've ever had, at any price. "
"Varsano's Chocolate is absolute heaven."
"By far the best chocolate I have ever had."
"If euphoria were to have an address it would be Varsano's Chocolates."
"Might even be the best chocolate I have had in my life..."
"Varsano's dark chocolates are, hands down, the best chocolate I've ever had. "
"Worth every penny."
"This place is necessary in my life! I adore them! "
"My weakness: the chocolate and caramel dipped pretzel rods"
"The chocolate caramel pretzels are also amazing. Crunchy, gooey and chocolatey!"
"The sea salt dark chocolate caramel. Yes. Amazing. "
"There are not enough stars for Varsano's. "
"Varsano's has the most incredible chocolate-covered marzipan that I have ever tasted."
You can often watch owner Marc Varsano hand-dipping chocolates right behind the counter. We never liked chocolate-covered pretzels until we tasted Varsano's dark chocolate covered version.
-authors Andrew Dorenburg and Karen Page
Serving New York's West Village, East Village, Soho, Tribeca and Lower East Side