A rite of passage for any New Yorker is experiencing the wonder of Fairway. Its shelves are stocked with esoteric products: imported $12 bottles of fruit soda, “The World’s Best Brownie” (it doesn’t live up to its name, but what would New York be without its hyperboles?), and matzoh crunch ice cream. It even has the old New York staple: rude customers. If you’re lucky, you’ll scrape by as people run you over with their carts and don’t even acknowledge your presence, much less apologize.
Or things can get more personal. I once saw a customer at the olive oil sampling area, dousing his prepackaged salad with a bottle. “I think you’re supposed to pay for that,” I said.
“You’re stupid!” he said and glared.
Fortunately, you can now experience Fairway without the ‘tude. In December, it launched an online store, stocking spices, sauces, pasta, and olive oil that hasn’t been touched by miserly men.
Lucky for me, they sent samples of chocolate bars, which have been repackaged from Lake Champlain Chocolates. Better than Hershey’s but not quite gourmet, they’re like grown-up candies.
The short, stubby bars are the highlight, with well balanced, not too sweet flavors. My favorite by far was the chocolate-hazelnut bar (pictured), which is like a hunk of sophisticated Nutella with hazelnut pieces and crushed Pirouline-like cookies. The tartness of the dark chocolate, raisin, cherry, and pecan bar is also enjoyable. I only wish the fillings were smoother and resembled truffles.
As of now, I only see the candy bars as part of small and large gift boxes (you can always go to Fairway and get whatever combo you want though). The larger bars are like filler. The chocolate itself is one dimensional and too thick on the truffle bars (pictured). Although Lake Champlain and Fairway don’t specifically advertise it, the couverture (base chocolate) is from Callebaut, the only “Belgian” chocolate maker who would manufacture on such as scale. I’m not a huge fan of their flavor profile.
For the casual chocolate lover though, these bars are a value (the little ones are $2.69 versus Lake Champlain’s $3.75) and would make a fun gift.