Aigner Chocolates – three generations of candy makers in Forest Hills

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So much is special about Aigner Chocolates, that it’s hard to know where to begin, but here’s a start – the uncommonly broad selection of very fresh, very high-quality chocolates.

Aigner is one of only a handful of chocolatiers around New York City making candy on site using traditional, artisanal methods. Originating from the province of Carinthia in Austria, three generations of Aigners have built this legacy, working under the names of Martha’s Candy Kitchen in Ridgewood and Krause’s in Forest Hills, and finally putting their own, well-earned imprint on decades of expertise.

 

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Image source: Elk Studios and Adrian Bacolo

With each generation, the Aigners lived and worked together. John, who was the first to immigrate and take up the business, located his family just upstairs from the first shop. Peter, his son, did the same, alongside his wife, Pia and his children. Today, one of those children, Chris, is increasingly taking on managerial and marketing roles for the company, but still takes time to make certain products himself – including the extremely delicate cherry cordials – and will tell you he can fix any piece of equipment they own.

 

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Image source: Elk Studios and Adrian Bacolo

One of the benefits of this longevity is that the Aigners have accumulated an impressive collection of candy making machinery. This is what makes it possible for them to offer such a large array of products, a true feat since each category of candy requires its own machine.

At Aigner, the standard chocolate pieces are stellar – large, elegant pretzels covered in dark or milk chocolate, chocolate-dipped full marshmallows or graham crackers, non-pareils in both dark and white chocolate, long strips of peanut, cashew or almond bark, chocolate-encased orange peels, and butter crunch bites.

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Aigner embraces the truffle, which is created by forming a piece of chocolate in its near-raw state – coco liquor – and dipping it into sweetened, hard chocolate. A favorite of the house is the Parisian Truffle, which includes rum, there’s also the Black Forest Truffle, Raspberry Cheesecake Truffle and the Moca Truffle. Aigner also makes a Venetian Truffle, which consists of just the coco liquor cut into blocks, a light layer on top a darker one.

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Peter and Chris are dedicated to the classic Geles, which, contrary to any stale Whitman Sampler pieces you’ve had, deliver the fruit in a mixture akin to preserves. They also offer an array of Crèmes including pistachio, coconut and tangerine.

 

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You can buy huge chunks of their in-house chocolate for baking or fondue. You can also pick up, by the bag, cordials made with amaretto, cognac or Grand Marnier – the liquor content is a safe 1% – or chocolate-covered espresso or coffee beans.

 

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For Halloween, Aigner has a nice selection of bat and pumpkin-shaped chocolate pops as well as charming foiled chocolates appearing as Jack-O-Lanterns and assorted ghouls. And there’s plenty of spirited decorations to bring the ambience home. And they will put together a fantastically styled gift basket or box!

 

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Today you can stop in for a cup of locally produced coffee from the Brooklyn Roasting Company in their newly configured corner café, looking out onto Metropolitan Avenue from large windows. You can now also order Aigner Chocolates products online. Despite these advances, or maybe because of them, the shop still maintains its home-town feel – lovingly decorated for each season, staffed by permanent employees, and offering time-honored, well-made candy classics with integrity.

Aigner Chocolates, 103-02 Metropolitan Avenue, Forest Hills, NY  11375; (718) 544-1850; aignerchocolates.com (GMAP)