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Chocolate-Covered Licorice Bits for Your Coffee

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Last night, I dined at a fine local establishment. My companions ordered coffee at the end of the meal, and the server brought out a lovely small tray with lump white sugar, lump brown sugar, the usual Sweet 'n Low and Equal packets, and a lot of little dark things described as "chocolate-covered licorice lentils".

This was a first for me. Seemed like a nice idea, but how common is it? Or anything like it?


"My tongue is smiling." - Abigail Trillin

Ruth Shulman

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Some sort of chocolate or baked goods after dessert and with the coffee is not uncommon in a better joint. In seriously fine way upscale places, you can get a heart stopping array of goodies. It's a custom I associate with French restaurants but it's spread as American restaurant cooking has become more sophisticated and chefs and restaurateurs show a greater interst in making a fine meal more of an experience, but even in a little family Italian-American restaurant you might get a cookie with coffee. In France it's the custom in many cafes to offer a piece of chocolate with your espresso or cafe au lait. In the US, I suppose this sort of thing may be common in some areas and not seen at all in others.

Are you referring to the custom of a treat with coffee or to the "chocolate-covered licorice lentils" in particular.

Robert Buxbaum


Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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Did they indicate that the chocolate covered licorice "lentils" were intended to be stirred into and dissolved in the coffee? If so it's intriguing and I'd love the chocolate aspect with some coffees but licorice I prefer to eat unadorned and most definitely not with coffee (I'm sure all you black coffee with Sambuca on the side lovers will disagree).

As for extra little goodies coming with the coffee.... I rarely dine in restaurants upscale enough to offer that but my second favoreite most place for cappucino in NYC's Financial District is the Leonides Belgian chocolate shop. They include a small chocolate truffle of your choice with every espresso drink and the espresso is better than average for NYC - definitely beats any Starbucks. Leonides used to be my favorite until eGulleteer "alacarte" clued me in about Klatch. It's at 9 Maiden Lane, just a few doors in from Broadway, close to Trinity Church. I don't know that they actually make a better espresso drink there but it has great homey atmosphere and is the type of small locally owned business that I like to frequent and support.

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Ooops, my bad! I wasn't clear, so let me put it this way. The licorice were intended to be stirred into the coffee, and not as a sort of dessert "amuse". This is what's new to me. That's why I thought it was interesting that they were included in the coffee service.

I still think it's different, and more daring than the rock-sugar stirrers and so on.

"My tongue is smiling." - Abigail Trillin

Ruth Shulman

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