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148 Forsyth Street
New York, NY, 10002
United States



Best Hot Chocolate

Rhonda Kave

The 10 Best Hot Chocolates in NYC

By Zachary Feldman Tue., Dec. 10 2013 at 10:00 AM



Roni-Sue Chocolates

1. Roni-Sue Chocolates, 148 Forsyth Street; 212-677-1216

Chocolate-covered 'Pig Candy' might be the hot ticket item at Rhonda Kave's inventive chocolate shop, but her hot chocolate is an undeniable seasonal must. Built on the backbone of organic Belizean beans harvested in the Moho River Valley, the beverage hits the palate with a mild sweetness, which gives way to deep cocoa notes, slightly fruity from registering at 60 percent cocoa content. The chocolate is melted and whisked into steamed milk, drinkable with an almost syrupy quality. If somehow this potent refreshment isn't luxurious enough for you, try melting a stick of that pig candy into your cup. Mmm...bacon hot chocolate.

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New Location in LES!


Village Voice -- Fork in the Road

Village Voice -- Fork in the Road

Roni-Sue's Chocolates Opens up a Bigger Shop (Q & A)

By Nicole Schnitzler Thu., Nov. 14 2013 at 10:00 AM

Just a few weeks ago, beloved Lower East Side chocolatier Roni-Sue's (148 Forsyth Street, 212-677-1216) ventured beyond its Essex Street Market stomping grounds and into a stand-alone retail location on Forsyth Street. In addition to soon-to-launch classes, the sibling space is offering coffee, hot chocolate, morning pastries, and, of course, its now-notorious (in the neighborhood, at least) chocolates. In this interview, owner Rhonda Kave discusses the new space, basement-brewed absinthe, and why bacon is still having its moment.


What's your best-selling item?
Our Pig Candy (chocolate-covered bacon), bar none. We started making it in 2008, and I thought it was going to be around for a New York Minute. I thought people would try it, they'd like it, and that'd be the end of it. We featured it in that year's Chocolate Show, and it got written up in the New York Times -- then everyone wanted it, and it built and built. There has been this kind of craze over bacon and desserts over the past few years, and we were kind of at the forefront of that serendipitously.

You're a fan of some pretty offbeat flavor combinations. Anything you've done recently?  
Every year for the Lower East Side Pickle Day, I actually make a pickle truffle. I started doing them because I wanted to make a weird splash in the neighborhood, and I thought, "why not a pickle truffle?" And it was really surprisingly good -- it's kind of refreshing. It was fun to challenge myself in that way. That's one of the things I like to do -- to see if I can bend something quirky into my will and make it tasty.

How do you choose which base to use for your truffles?
We have a white chocolate ganache, which I'll use for some of the cocktail truffles -- such as the Margarita or the Lebowski -- where you want the alcohol and the other flavors to be really front and center. [White chocolate] is pretty neutral, so when you add the lime and tequila (for the margarita), that's what you taste.

Many of your truffles take a 'behind the bar' approach -- any particular reason?
I used to be a bartender back in the day. The Cocktail Collection was actually the very first collection I made when I started Roni-Sue's. I was in the middle of creating it and was trying to determine the sixth and final chocolate for the line. My son, who's a chef, came by and brought a little bottle of absinthe from the restaurant he was working at. This was before absinthe was legal -- they were brewing it in the basement. I said to myself, "That's what I'm going go make: an absinthe truffle!" So I did.

How do you manage to create so much flavor in such tiny bites?
One of the other bases I make is called persipan, which is a little bit unusual; not too many people are making it. It's similar in consistency and flavor to marzipan, but it's made predominantly with apricot kernel instead of almond, making the resulting base lighter and fruitier. When I want the underlying ingredient to be the thing you taste the most, I'll use this. In fact, two of my seasonal truffles right now use it: the pumpkin spice and the caramel apple.

How do you think up these flavor profiles? What is your process?
Right now I have a couple of folders of ideas that haven't seen the light of day yet. They're waiting for their turn -- their close-up. I get inspired by different ingredients that I might see. I love going to a place like Kalustyan's; it's a playground for me. I can't get out of there without spending a minimum of $100. I just went there the other day, and I bought watermelon powder. I don't know what I'm going to do with it yet, but if I see watermelon powder, I've got to have it -- I might need that! Whenever I see something that's really quirky and piques my interest, I usually get it and then think about what I'm going to do with it later. I also like to haunt old liquor stores -- the dusty shelf on the bottom, especially -- to see what might be there.


Why the name Roni-Sue?

My given name is Rhonda Sue, and when I was a kid, I was called Roni-Sue. When I was born, my mom owned a women's clothing store; it was kind of unusual in that day and age for a woman to own her own business. She decided that when she had a little girl, she would incorporate girls' clothing into the shop, so she named the shop Roni-Sue, after me. When I was thinking about a name for the chocolate shop, I came across the original sign from her store, which I now have in my apartment. One day I just looked up, and the answer was there. It's an homage to my mom.


On the topic of family, your daughter Allison also has quite the sweet -- and boozy -- tooth.
Yes! Allison owns First Prize Pies, which has taken off like a rocket. Her and another baker Keavy [Landreth] of Kumquat Cupcakery have joined forces, and they'll soon be opening Butter & Scotch, a craft cocktail and dessert bar in Brooklyn.

What do you like to snack on at the shop?
One of my personal favorites is the fresh coconut truffle, because I'm a coconut freak. When my sister lived in Florida, I'd beg her to send me the coconut patties. I revere those! They're probably terrible now if I actually tasted them, but that taste memory is there.

What do you hope guests take away from the Roni-Sue's chocolate experience?
It's very important to me that our chocolates have a bold and recognizable flavor profile. Nothing upsets me more than when I buy a really nice box of chocolates, spend 20 minutes choosing the flavors, and then get home and can't tell the difference without a scorecard. I want to be able to tell if it's pomegranate or pumpkin, you know? Also, I really like to create a complex, layered flavor profile. For example, if I'm going to make a raspberry truffle, it's not going to have raspberry flavoring. All of the flavor is going to come from whole fruit and fruit elements. So I'll take dried raspberries and plump them up with some Chambord, I'll add some raspberry jam, maybe a little bit of raspberry vinegar -- there are a lot of elements that layer up to create that flavor. We also use our direct trade chocolate from MOHO Chocolate Company in Belize, which is really delicious.

How did you decide to use chocolate from Belize?
Besides the fact that it's delicious, I feel good about it. It's certainly important to me -- and I think is becoming more important to customers -- to know where their products come from. A lot of commercial chocolate is sourced from the Ivory Coast, and that has a pretty nasty tradition of child slavery and trafficking of children to work in the cacao fields. I'm a partner in MOHO Chocolate Company, too -- December will be our second year in business together.

Speaking of anniversaries, this retail opening marks six years since Roni-Sue's opened its original doors at Essex Street Market. How did you choose the market as your original space?
Part of my senior project at NYU was about markets, and it brought me down to the Essex Street Market. It's just the kind of place that I like to find when I travel. I like to see where the people shop and what they like to buy and how they cook it. I thought it was the best-kept secret in New York. I still love being at the market. I love the camaraderie, being around the other merchants. People would always ask us how we produced everything in our tiny spot there, and we'd just say, "You live in New York, you learn to work small."


AAA Travel Views: East Village Chocolate Excursion



Written by Suzanne Lemon

As a writer traveling on assignment to the Big Apple, I couldn’t help but notice that a handful of artisanal chocolatiers and innovative bakers had set up shop in the Bowery area of the East Village. With visions of bonbons and other decadent delights beckoning from charming window displays, I set out to conduct some firsthand research. I feel compelled to share my sugary findings with AAA TravelViews readers.

You have to look hard to spy Bond Street Chocolate’s mocha-colored sign embellished with its pretty pink logo at 63 E. 4th St. Although the shop is tiny, its confections are big on taste—the two that I sampled, mojito and Earl Grey tea, were deliciously unique. If you’re not afraid to experiment with flavors, this is the place—you won’t be disappointed. And I loved the chocolate-sculpted Buddha’s dusted with 24-carat gold.

The day was chilly and rainy, and the Cocoa Bar (21 Clinton St.) was the perfect place to be under such circumstances, since a frothy hot chocolate with espresso perked me right up. To complement my silky smooth beverage, I ordered a diverse selection of tidbits: a caramel-filled turtle, a macadamia cranberry cookie with white chocolate chunks and some chocolate-covered espresso beans recommended by the proprietor. (Yes, I skipped lunch.) I grabbed one of the window tables in the cozy bistro and watched East Village life drift by from my chocolaty perch.

Roni-Sue’s Chocolates is at 120 Essex St. in the Essex Street Market, conveniently located by the Delancey Street subway stop. The neon sign gives the shop a retro kind of feel, but the chocolates are innovative morsels—the owner likes to experiment with a variety of ingredients to create clever combinations. One collection blends chile peppers with dark chocolate—the mixture of sweet, salt and heat packs some punch, but those who favor hot spices will be hooked. Another collection captures the essence of popular cocktails (think mimosa and margarita), while the seasonal May flowers assortment includes floral infused truffles like rose, hibiscus and lavender.

Roni-Sue definitely thinks out of the box. I couldn’t bring myself to try the maple/bacon lollipops or chocolate-dipped bacon—maybe next time for breakfast. (By the way, the market is a great stop for lunch or for purchasing local breads, cheeses and other gourmet foods.)

Babycakes, a funky little spot at 248 Broome St., challenges the theory that all-natural, organic desserts suffer in the taste department. The bakery caters to all walks of life—the health-conscious, those with dietary restrictions and folks simply on the lookout for scrumptious baked goods. One of their claims to fame is a wholesome version of a Hostess chocolate cupcake. It was hard to decide what treat to choose from the packed display case, with tantalizing flavors like pumpkin cinnamon, banana maple and brownie mocha teasing the palate. I went with an agave-sweetened brownie, which was gluten, egg and daily free (who would know?), savoring it as I checked out the celebrity photos on the wall.

Note: I must share one last tip with connoisseurs of chocolate chip cookies about a place outside of East Village. Levain Bakery, on the Upper West Side, offers the heavenly Chocolate Chip Walnut, a behemoth of a treat that’s crispy on the outside and satisfyingly chewy on the inside. The pilgrimage to the tiny bakery is a must for any chocoholic worth his or her salt.

During my escapade, I merely scratched the surface of the sweet possibilities that Manhattan offers. Feel free to dish up on any mouthwatering discoveries you make while touring the city.

See the original article here 

In the Kitchen and on the Road with Dorie


Old Fashioned Candy, New-Fashioned Chocolates, a Little Cheese and Lots of Memories

"After buying salted licorice and licorice rolls and contemplating some of Bonomo’s Turkish Taffy’s replacement (something oddly called French taffy), Kerrin and walked across the street to the Essex Street Market, where our first stop was Roni-Sue’s Chocolates. Here’s the charming Roni-Sue helping Kerrin decide what to buy. 

In the end we split ‘a nickel bag’ (that’s what it’s called) of Bacon Buttercrunch and we each bought a box of chocolates. And again, I thought of my mom. She always said that the only candy she liked was ‘junk’ candy, but I had a feeling she’d have loved one of Roni-Sue’s truffles, the one called Black-Out Cake and fashioned after the icon of the old Ebinger’s Bakery."

To read the rest of Dorie's blog post, click here

Roni's Chocolate Roses: Helping fight domestic violence


Chris Montgomery

Chris Montgomery

Examiner: Roni's Chocolate Roses: Helping fight domestic violence

Written by Terri Marshall

 "Chocolatiers are good people and one of the chocolatiers I have profiled in this column previously is proving my point!   Roni-Sue always has delicious candies worth sampling.  What with her cocktail collection of truffles, her pig candy (chocolate covered bacon) and her signature buttercrunch to name a few, how are we supposed to decide what to buy? With Valentine's Day approaching, Roni Sue has added two edible roses to her  line-up of extraordinary chocolates.   Appearing only for Valentine's Day and Mother's Day each year, Roni's Roses are not only delicious, they are helping in the fight against domestic violence. 

Before opening her chocolate shop, Roni Sue worked for many years with the Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  Today Roni Sue donates a portion of the proceeds from the sales of Roni's Roses to the agency where she used to work to help them provide phone cards to victims.  Providing victims with phone cards provides them with a safe way to make phone calls to access essential services from the hotline. 

It is hardly a sacrifice for chocolate lovers to try out these roses!  Roni's Red Rose has a Callebaut bittersweet chocolate ganache center blended with rose petal jam, powdered fresh dried rose petals and rose liqueur.  The center is hand-rolled and dipped in dark chocolate then topped with a fresh-dried rose petal.  Her White Rose is a Callebaut dark chocolate rose bon bon with a white chocolate ganache center blended with rose petal jam, rose petal powder and rose liqueur.  Either choice is a winner and both choices help turn victims of domestic violence into winners.

For those of you in the New York City area, Roni-Sue will be doing a tasting for the Chocolate and I - New York event in Manhattan on Monday, February 8th from 7:30 to 9:00pm.  She will also be doing a demo and sampling in Soho at  the Dean & DeLuca store on Thursday, February 11th from 3 to 6 pm.  If you are not in the New York area, the roses are available for order from her website.  Trust me, you do not want to miss these roses!

See, I told you chocolatiers are good people - and not just because they make our treats!"

 See the original article here


NYC's Lower East Side, old and new


Kathy Willens

Kathy Willens

The Associated Press

 "The Essex Street Market at Delancey Street is an indoor market where you can buy everything from fresh produce to gourmet products (closed Sundays). "Mayor LaGuardia created the market in 1939 to get the pushcarts off the street," said Jeffrey Ruhalter, a fifth-generation butcher who says he is the market’s last original tenant. "It was New York City’s first supermarket."

More recent market tenants include Saxelby Cheesemongers, which specializes in regional cheeses, and Roni-Sue’s Chocolates. Owner Rhonda Kave made chocolates as a hobby for years before opening the shop a year ago. Specialties include a cocktail collection of chocolates named for mojitos, mimosas and Manhattans; chocolate-covered bacon; and tea-and-honey lollipops."


To read the rest of the piece, click here

Kathy Yl Chan Blog!


Week In Review. I. Package From Kat! II. City Harvest: Bid Against Hunger III. Kambi, Chickalicious, and Sundaes & Cones

"Tuesday night I was at City Harvest's Bid Against Hunger event, fawning over Eric Kleinman's (Bar Milano) housemade rabbit terrine and the foie torchon with duck prosciutto from Hudson Valley Foie Gras. A good majority of the desserts at the events were repeats from the SWEET festival a few weeks ago. Much to my delight, Francois Payard brought back his hot and cold pina colada (which I covered in more detail for Serious Eats' SWEET festival write up). Ron Ben-Israel was present with the same two cakes from SWEET, the chocolate stout cake with malt buttercream and a lemon cake with Grand Marnier, cranberry buttercream, and lime zest. Following suit, The Modern did a repeat with the Coconut Chocolate Demeux. Il Laboratorio del Gelato had little gelato bites flavours of dark chocolate and peanut butter flicker in my memory. Billy's Bakery arrived with plenty of cupcakes on hand, and so was Roni-Sue with truffles, honey-tea lollipops, and that crazy, crazy delicious buttercrunch of hers."

To read the rest of Kathy's blog post, click here!