New to the OU: Li-Lac Gourmet Chocolates Now OU Kosher


Li-Lac Gourmet Chocolates Now OU Kosher

Li-Lac Chocolates is Manhattan’s oldest chocolate house — a New York tradition since 1923.  They make old-world artisan chocolate in small batches using their founder’s original recipes and production methods from the 1920s. With more than 140 items, Li-Lac has one of the largest selections of fresh gourmet chocolate in America.  Every item is made by hand, locally in New York City, and guaranteed for freshness.

The history of Li-Lac Chocolates dates back to 1923 when George Demetrious, a native of Greece, immigrated to New York and opened his shop at 120 Christopher Street in the heart of Greenwich Village. During the 1920s, Greenwich Village was a destination for artists, intellectuals and innovators. It was in this context that Mr. Demetrious applied his chocolate-making expertise, creating and perfecting his recipes, and steadily building a customer following among his quirky and demanding neighbors. Mr. Demetrious used large marble-top tables and copper kettles to perfect his signature recipes for items such as Hazelnut Truffle Squares, Marzipan Rolls, Fudge, Caramel Squares, and more. He employed a staff of dippers and packers who contributed their own specialized care and attention to detail still found in every Li-Lac Chocolate made today.

Over the ensuing nine decades, Li-Lac Chocolates became a cherished New York tradition. When trendy ingredients and mass production emerged as the model for the modern chocolatier, Li-Lac remained true to its history and tradition, eschewing automation and trendiness. Deemed “stubbornly old fashioned” by The Wall Street Journal, Li-Lac Chocolates is one of the few old-school chocolate companies to survive into the modern era.

“The best way to tell our story is when people see how we make our chocolate,” said Anthony Cirone, Li-Lac’s President. Li-Lac Chocolates is known for keeping its small-batch production methods mostly unchanged for over nine decades.  This summer the company is opening its new factory with glass walls that allow customers to peek into the kitchen. “Making fresh chocolate by hand in New York City can be rather inefficient, but when people see what we do and how we do it, they instantly grasp the benefit,” said Mr. Cirone.

“We are incredibly excited to be able to showcase our chocolate production to the public.” The factory’s kitchen is complete with copper kettles, marble tables and weight scales that date back to the turn of the century.  Many of the chocolate molds are antiques, cast of steel during the early 1900s.  Indeed, the large marble table they still use to make chocolate is marked on the bottom with the date the marble was cut: June 20, 1923.

Along with the move to the new factory,
Li-Lac took steps to become kosher-certified by the Orthodox Union.  Kosher certification, especially from that well-known and trusted kosher agency, opens new markets and creates growth potential that otherwise wouldn’t exist. In addition, “Being Kosher certified is a sign of quality and provides customers with reassurance that the company maintains certain high standards,” declared Anwar Khoder, Li-Lac’s Master Chocolatier. Li-Lac Chocolates received its certification on August 1st, just in time for the holiday gifting season.

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