In case you have been curious about those “places with the giant white ice cream cones just outside the front doors” that you have seen around town, they are Venchi chocolate and gelato boutiques. If you do a search on the web, you will know that they are wildly well received and that many New Yorkers visit the various stores around town several times per week. Venchi just opened their first Upper East Side location at 78th and Lexington this month, so I had to check it out. I live very nearby so I might just make it my home away from home (but first I will be hiding my scale deep in the back of my closet, LOL)!
The Venchi stores are well-stocked with chocolate that you can pick out piece by piece and buy by the pound as well as walls of chocolates bars sold individually. These stores are so well-organized and clean that you can probably eat off the floor. Honestly, if a scoop of gelato fell on the floor, I would climb down there and eat it, LOL!
Pictured above is the 3/4 pound or so of chocolates that I decided to sample. Venchi has all your favorite truffle and filled chocolate combinations but there are filled chocolates not offered elsewhere. Be sure to try the limoncello filled dark chocolates which cannot be found elsewhere in the city. My personal favorites and the cappucino and tiramisu flavored cream filled items. I am also deeply in love with the sold pieces of flavored chocolate, and my current favorite is the white chocolate with raspberry. As a huge fan of white chocolate, I plan to go back and try every white chocolate combo that Venchi makes!
Here is a close up photo of the individual chocolate bins. The colorful wrappers just draw in passersby! They are so appealing! You can see that gift boxes of Venchi are placed just above the bins! They make great Mother’s Day, Valentine’s and housewarming gifts! If you need to be sugar free, Venchi’s sugar free chocolates do not taste any different than the regular chocolates!
The gelato counter is placed at the center of each Venchi location. I love the classic Italian flavors like hazelnut (aka Stacciatella) and cappucino. There are several types of waffle cones you can choose including ones that are halfway covered with Venchi dark chocolate.
Be sure to check out these grab and go gems available where you pay for your gelato and chocolates. A few of these items tied up together in cellophane or in a gift basket make a wonderful gift for any sweets lovers! Their dark hazelnut spread blows the commercial brands available in supermarkets and mass merchandise stores out of the water!
Oops, I almost forgot to mention that for those who like their sweets on the lighter side, there are several great sorbet flavors including raspberry and mango. Like the gelato, these items are made by hand from recipes dating back to 1878.
I know you are dying to know what three gelato flavors that I chose and that can be fit into one cup—-I had coconut, tiramisu and cappucino. Together, these are a dynamite team that blend well with each other. I noticed that a lot of people around me (who were eating at the cute yellow tables and chairs out in front of the store) combined the sorbet flavors with good old plain chocolate gelato!
You will love the counter team at Venchi! They are super friendly, have respect for customers’ time and will tend to the oddest preferences. If you want to have three scoops on top of each other rather than next to each other, it is doable! They won’t think that you are being too particular. The Upper East Side store is already ultra popular, but downtown residents will be happy to know that a location on the SW corner of 28th and Broadway will be popping up within the next couple of months. You better believe that it will be a super hot “summer in the city” go-to spot!