Chocolate shop marks sweet anniversary: 90 years in business

October 2, 2013 3:05:10 PM PDT
A chocolate shop in Manhattan is marking 90 years in business, and over the decades, the recipe for the treats has never changed.

Not a lot has changed at Li-lac Chocolates other than its location. It started on Christopher Street in 1923 and has moved several blocks north, but still remains in the West Village.

And there's a store at Grand Central Terminal and a small factory, turning out treats that generations have loved.

If you're a chocolate lover, what's not to like? These handmade chocolates have stood the test of time.

"We have more than 140 chocolate items, and most of them are the signature items our founder made in the 1920's, and we still make the same way today," said owner Anthony Cirone.

Cirone used to snack on Li-lac Chocolates in the West Village. A couple of years ago he bought the business, along with Chris Taylor. Both were lured in by the consistency of the chocolate.

"A 90-year old guy came in to the store and said I went to PS 3 and bought your kiddie pops and your chocolates still taste the same, and I think to myself how do you remember that from 90 years ago? But people do," said Taylor.

And it's stayed the same thanks in part to a third owner and chocolatier, Anwar Khoder. He started working for Li-lac Chocolates 25 years ago.

"I love doing it, I've loved it from the first day," he said.

None of the recipes had been written down, but he knows them all, and amazingly he manages to get through most days without eating too much chocolate.

"If I'm in the mood for a piece of chocolate, I'll try to eat it at the end of the day, because once I start I don't stop," said Khoder.

From truffles, to fudge, the trendiest items may be the caramels covered in chocolate and dusted in salt.

This is old school chocolate. The factory in Sunset Park is a relatively new addition, though it's already too small for the demand.

"We have a hard time keeping up with it," said Khoder.

But they're doing their best, filling orders for custom molds, and filling New Yorkers with the sweetness of a 90-year old tradition.

"Stubbornly old-fashioned since 1923. We claimed that term after people kept talking about how we were old-fashioned, and how we were stubborn and we didn't change, so we thought that was the perfect slogan," said Cirone.

Interestingly, no one knows how Li-lac Chocolates got its name, but the lilac color in its packaging remains.