Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Fairway NYC

I talk about Trader Joe’s a lot as a candy source; the store opening in Manhattan was big news. But on my trip to NYC, I found that they already have an extraordinary store, Fairway. We pretty much stumbled upon the market while walking back from the Upper West Side to our hotel in Times Square.

Like Trader Joe’s the store focuses on more gourmet, upscale or wholesome fare, with many items sold with their private label but at super-delicious prices. The best part, of course, was their candy section. They had a huge aisle of pre-packaged bulk nuts and panned chocolate goods, most of which made by Koppers.

imageThe first thing that caught my eye were these little M&M sized dark chocolate goodies called Cayenne Pepper Savory. It was just what I was looking for all these years, a peppered chocolate in easy to eat morsels. But when they say Cayenne Pepper, they really mean it. It’s far too spicy for comfort. I might try putting them in cookies or something, but it’s too bad, the chocolate is really nice, but the afterburn is serious. ($5.99/lb)

Of course I have a hard time believing that they really were that hot, so after a couple of days I try another one. Same result ... whoo! I don’t know, it’s growing on me.

imageThis was by far the best of the Koppers finds. It’s little cubes of dried apricot covered in dark chocolate. So simple. The chocolate has a nice smoky, dark bite. It’s sweet but doesn’t overpower the natural sweetness and tart chewy bite of the apricot.

It’s nice to find an affordable version of the glace apricots that I’ve seen at the upscale chocolatiers. Of course these don’t replace them, but they’re portable and high quality. ($5.99/lb)

imageOh, I had such high hopes. Look at them, they’re gorgeous! Dark and glossy and sweet smelling. But there’s something so wrong about the taste and even though I’ve been sampling these for weeks, I can’t quite put my finger on it. They chocolate is sweet, but bitter. Smooth but a little waxy and it has this odd dairy taste to it, even though it’s dark chocolate. The malted center is not really malty or maybe the chocolate is overpowering it. I was just so disappointed.  ($4.99/lb)

And here’s the big secret - Fairway sells Lake Champlain! Only it’s their house brand and it’s far cheaper. I picked up two 5 Star Bars and they were only $2.19 each!  I picked up the Caramel one, just to make sure the Fairway house brand was truly the same as the Lake Champlain, and I also got this one, the Fruit & Nut Bar.


This stunning 2 ounce brick ‘o chocolate is dark chocolate on the outside, filled with a hazelnut praline (think Caffarel’s Guanduia) studded with pecans and dried cherries. Now I know I say that I don’t like cherry flavored things, but I have no problem at all with the real ones. This bar was really nice, the dark chocolate was bold and reigned in the thick flavor of the hazelnut praline quite nicely.

The nuts weren’t as numerous as I’d hoped, but the bite of the sour cherries and the chewy texture was a nice mix. I do like the inventiveness of mixing pecans and hazelnuts - two sadly neglected nuts in American candybars. Of the two that I’ve had now, I still prefer the Caramel bar, but this one is certainly interesting and I’m wondering how it compares to the 5-Star Hazelnut bar.

Fairway had a large selection of candies, both in their own packaged bulk items like the Koppers, upscale brands like Scharffen Berger and Valrhona. I also saw a huge variety of imported candies like European brands like Cadbury and Nestle (not the American versions). 

Fairway Market
2127 Broadway (Between 74th & 75th)
New York City
(212) 595-1888
Hours: 6AM-1AM Daily (isn’t that insane!)
Other locations: Plainview, Harlem and soon Brooklyn

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POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:26 am Tracker Pixel for Entry     New York CityReviewKoppersLake ChamplainChocolateMaltNuts8-TastyUnited StatesShopping

  1. Good to know that the Fairway brand of chocolate bars is Lake Champlain! We’re big fans of the chocolate peppermint bars (although they don’t seem to make this in the chunky size, only the standard bar-shape).

    Comment by Nosher on 5/02/06 at 11:56 am #
  2. Cybele, do you have a theory on why America is so lacking in chocolate/hazelnuts (and pecans, too!—Mmmmm, real southern-style pralines…)?

    Comment by desertwind on 5/02/06 at 7:45 pm #
  3. I had some dark chocolate malt balls not long ago, and I found that they had the ratio all off.  The chocolate overpowered the malt ball. For some reason the coating was 2-3 times as thick as it usually is on milk chocolate malt balls.  It was sad since it seemed like such an ideal combination.

    Comment by g on 5/03/06 at 2:03 am #
  4. I love, love, love Fairway. (I go to the one on Long Island.)

    Agree with you on the dark-chocolate malt balls. I was really looking forward to them, but they weren’t great.

    There’s a dark-chocolate orange/mango number that’s very tasty.

    Oddly, I haven’t seen a dark-chocolate cherry on the shelf, which would seem like a natural.

    I’ve been wondering why the little Fairway “bricks” are more expensive than much larger bars. I guess it’s a different maker, eh?

    Comment by The Velvet Blog on 5/03/06 at 6:28 am #
  5. Cybele's avatar

    Nosher - they definitely had those flat truffle bars and the regular bars from Lake Champlain under the Fairway branding.

    g - I’m often torn by the extra chocolatey malt balls. I like the chocolate, but I’m there for the malt, so I usually want a different ratio. Dark chocolate may just be too overpowering for malt.

    The Velvet Blog - I’ll keep my eye out for the orange/mango next time I’m there (it’ll be a requisite stope from now on). The brick bars, as I understand it, are handmade by Lake Champlain so there may be higher labor costs involved in the creation.

    Comment by Cybele on 5/03/06 at 9:51 am #
  6. Bah!  Making a bad chocolate malt ball should be worthy of a hefty fine.  The only thing worse is biting into the malt balls that went all hard and gacky.  What happens with those?  I think every single bag of Whoppers has at least one.

    Comment by Julilla on 5/03/06 at 11:47 am #
  7. omg!! i’ve got to figure out how to get those cayenne pepper chocolates! they sound soooo delicious!

    i’m salivating already.

    Comment by jayfish on 5/07/06 at 7:33 am #
  8. Oh, how I miss Fairway. I used to live around the corner from the Broadway store when I lived in NY in the Mid-eighties.  (Gulp—is that really 20 years ago).  Amazing store.  Now I need to plan a trip to NYC.

    Comment by Karen on 6/24/06 at 9:31 pm #
  9. The problem with Fairway is that it’s impossible to get outta there without black-and-blue marks. Those shoppers are insane!

    (almost worth it, even for the chocolate…)

    Your write-ups are great and makes me want to hop on a plane, and make a beeline for Economy Candy.

    Comment by David L on 7/12/06 at 3:42 am #
  10. Have you tried their soft dried fruit? I think they call it French style or something. Soooooo good.

    Comment by Lisa on 12/08/08 at 4:57 pm #
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