Roni Sue - In the Media
See what the New York Times has said about Roni-Sue's - Chocolatiere Rhonda Kave.
Friday, November 7, 2008
November 7, 2008, 1:33 pm
Mmm ... Bacon! (Of the Chocolate-Covered Variety)
By Jennifer 8. Lee
At the Chocolate Show at Pier 94, a worker showed off an unusual delicacy: chocolate-covered bacon. (Photos: Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times)
The crowd gathered around the booth at the Chocolate Show at Pier 94 this morning was a bit incredulous: "Chocolate-covered what?"
Debbie Perina of Bellerose, Queens, popped a sample of the "pig candy" into her mouth without looking closely. Her eyes bulged. "Oh, yes!" she cried (almost in ecstasy, we must observe). And she insisted to her companion, "Taste it!"
"I love bacon, and I love chocolate," she gushed. "This is such a great combo. I love it."
Yes, that's right: chocolate-covered bacon. O.K., it may never top peanut butter and chocolate as a gustatory combo, but it has its fans.
At some level, the study in contrasts worked: salty and sweet, crunchy and silky, flesh and not-flesh. Well, maybe not that last one.
Debbie Perina of Bellerose, Queens, gave a thumbs-up sign after she tasted chocolate-covered bacon at Rhonda Kave's Roni-Sue booth.
The creation was offered by Rhonda Kave, a chocolatier who started her shop, Roni-Sue, a year ago in Essex Street Market. She started selling it two months ago as part of her salty-and-sweet line, inspired by the chocolate and bacon bits bar offered by Vosges. That product, she said, did not have the right bacon-to-chocolate ratio for some people's tastes. So they decided to dip the whole bacon strips — as other vendors have done elsewhere.
Ms. Kave, known for her inventive combinations, seems to be popping up everywhere. We first bumped into her when she was selling chocolate-covered rose petals at a wedding trade show, and again at the pickle festival, where she was selling chocolate-covered pickles. She said she was doing an event with her Lower East Side neighbor, Babeland, which, we informed her, made the news for its vibrator giveaways during the election.
"Nice!" she said. "Rock the vote indeed."
Ms. Kave first started making candy for holiday gifts after taking a class 25 years ago. In October 2007, after eight years of working in a coalition to prevent domestic violence, she decided to open up a shop in her own name, part of a generation of eponymous shopkeepers.
But so far, the chocolate-covered bacon, which sells at $38 a pound, has been among her biggest hits. One man comes in every week to buy half a pound for his daughter.
This year the Chocolate Show expanded beyond its modest digs in Chelsea to Pier 94 at 12th Avenue and 55th (there are lots of cabs). It runs from today through Sunday, with tickets at $28 apiece (covering the food offered inside). The cavernous space, filled with guilt-inducing treats, is at the opposite end of the chocolate supply chain from the cacao bean farmers in Latin America. And New Yorkers, relieved after a drawn-out election and suffering economic heartburn, seemed content to indulge their anxieties with chocolate.
And indulge they did — in interesting flavors and shapes. There was the ginger chocolate at Green and Black's, the peppercorn chocolate from Eclat and the chocolate figs from John and Kiras. Then, there were chocolates shaped like sushi, stiletto shoes and fat happy buddhas.
But still, it was chocolate-covered bacon that was the talk of the festival. Ms. Perina refused Ms. Kave's offer of a second helping of chocolate-covered bacon. She'd had enough.
But before she left, she told Ms. Kave, "Thanks for taking the chance."
East Village Chocolate Excursion
Submitted by Suzanne Lemon, August 9, 2011
Bond Street Chocolate
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.