Whether you believe in good luck or blessings or not, there’s something about being at the right place at the right time! Mark Libertini, co-owner of Aigner Chocolates was driving by Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills to pick up some chocolate for Rachel, his business partner, and wife when he encountered a ‘for sale’ sign at the store. Instead of going home with a box of chocolates he was harboring thoughts of the possibilities of owning a chocolate shop.
From possibilities to reality, Mark and Rachel saved one of NYC’s oldest chocolate and confectionery shops from closing its door forever when they bought it in 2015. Now a thriving chocolate abode, Aigner Chocolates is not your ordinary sweet treats stop. Every piece of sweet delight is made on-site with the finest imported Swiss chocolate.
When you visit, expect to see rows upon rows of chocolate treats arranged with care and creativity. For a completely gratifying experience, grab a cup of espresso, cappuccino or macchiato and take a seat by the window. Take comfort in a piece of chocolate and a cup of coffee.
We spoke with Rachel Kellner, co-owner of Aigner Chocolates and here were our Q&As:
1. How was it like during the first year of your business when you took over Aigner Chocolates from the Aigners?
The first year of our business was both a challenge and an adventure. It was an honor to continue a rich tradition of chocolate making in the Austrian style. The Aigners were instrumental throughout our transition and are big champions of ours. Working and owning a business with your spouse has its unique challenges, but overall we feel fortunate to have one another as partners in business and life.
2. Could you please tell our readers what the top three sellers are at Aigner Chocolates?
Our salted caramels are amazing! Our Pistachio Marzipan and Almond Bark are also delicious and are big sellers. We are always coming up with new creations and seasonal specialties. Many of our new items are a limited run and made in small batches. They go quickly, so we don’t have time to put them on our website. You can always call us or stop in to see what we have that is new and exciting.
3. Do you keep the Aigner’s tradition and menu? What are some of the changes made since you took over?
We’ve expanded our menu in the past few years and now make ice cream, a flourless dark chocolate cake and hot chocolate that is all made from our chocolate.
4. What seasonal products do you have throughout the year?
We sell ice cream by the pint and quart throughout the year, and in the summertime, we sell our ice cream by the scoop. We only sell 3 flavors of ice cream; Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, and White Chocolate. All our ice cream is made from our chocolate which is imported from Switzerland. In the fall, we make a Pumpkin Pie Truffle, for Christmas, we make a Gingerbread Truffle, and for Valentines Day we are offering a Rose Water Truffle, and each truffle has a hand-painted rose on it.
5. Do you offer chocolate making classes?
Unfortunately, at this time we do not offer chocolate making classes. Although it is something that we have wanted to do since we opened and planned to offer classes in the future. Stay tuned!
6. What’s your favorite type of chocolate and why?
Personally, I like all chocolate. It really just depends on my mood. My go-to chocolate is our 76% dark chocolate bar that we blend in-house using several different kinds of chocolate.
7. How has the Forest Hills neighborhood changed since you’ve been here? What would you suggest to make this community even better?
We have noticed new business owners coming to the neighborhood that helps give Forest Hills an injection of energy and creativity. In the long term, I think bringing in young, energetic, independent businesses is vital for the neighborhood and will help the established businesses in the neighborhood. I think it will also help maintain and increase the long-term property values in Forest Hills.
Also, I think it is important for local residents to patronize their local businesses. Most business owners want to be involved with their neighborhood, and the best way to do this is for residents to stop in and get to know their local business owners. We depend on your business! But we also like to hear constructive feedback to see how we can be better business owners.
Lauded as NYC’s best chocolate shop, Aigner Chocolates continues to win hearts. It won ours. Have you been there? Check out their stories online and grab yourself a special treat today.
Website: Aigner Chocolates