If you’ve ever wanted to wander into a real-life Willy Wonka situation, head to Brooklyn. Deep in the borough, in a newly built-up area called Industry City, you’ll find Li-Lac Chocolates’ headquarters. It’s exactly what you’d hope for — and frankly expect — out of a chocolate factory: churning vats of every type of chocolate, three-foot tall sculptures made from the stuff, and a glass case full of every flavor truffle imaginable.
Everything at Li-Lac is made by hand, painted and molded by the men and women who’ve worked at Manhattan’s oldest chocolate house, for decades. The chocolate objects could please anyone with a PG passion — soccer, shoes, dogs — but perhaps the most impressive one is the life-size chess set. The board’s actually comprised of four mini boards, checkered with white and dark chocolate. The chocolatiers paint every other square of the mold with white chocolate, then pour a layer of dark on top.
The pawns and royal figures are all solid chocolate, too. The pros at Li-Lac have the process down to a science: They fill the molds, tap them until all the air bubbles are gone and the chocolate’s seeped into every nook and cranny, then pop them into the fridge to harden. From there, they’re transported to another row or people who brush and polish the pieces so — if you squint — you could mistake them for the real things.
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