Tue-Fri, 11am-7pm; Sat-Sun, noon-8pm; Mon, closed
6 at Bleecker St.; F, V at Lower East Side-Second Ave.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Former neuroscientist and Union Square Café pastry cook Rachel Zoe Insler became obsessed with chocolate while apprenticing at Notting Hill’s Melt. She opened this one-woman shop in February 2009, down the alley tucked into Avalon Bowery Place. Unlike the typical American chocolatier, Insler focuses on unusual flavors and “terroir,” using descriptors more befitting a sommelier than a pastry chef. Confections include a hand-rolled Colombian dark-chocolate truffle (78 percent cocoa with a bit of Ronnybrook cream and butter), a Venezuelan Valrhona chocolate filled with cognac, and a Carribean chocolate with black tea and apricot. Insler favors salt over sugar, and her signature item is a dark-chocolate shell containing sea-salted caramel and topped with crushed Martin’s pretzels.