Close up of a table filled with chocolate truffles
Foodie Travel,  Syracuse,  Upstate New York

Chocolate Shops in Syracuse with Delicious Sweets for Your Sweetie

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, chocolate sales are through the roof. But before you head to the stores to stock up on mass-produced candies, consider shopping local. There are plenty of fantastic chocolate shops in Syracuse to satisfy your sweet tooth. And others across the state that are worth driving to visit. Truffles, fudges, chocolate-covered treats, hot cocoa, and an array of other sweets await you. Plus, stepping inside a chocolate shop is one of the best smells ever.

Chocolate Shops in Syracuse

Chocolate Pizza Company

Just outside of Syracuse is one of the most famous chocolates shops in the state: Chocolate Pizza Company. The company is located in the scenic hills of Marcellus, NY, but is recognized nationwide for their unique creations.

First, there’s the title character: chocolate pizza. And it’s almost exactly what it sounds like. A huge circular piece of Swiss chocolate topped with a variety of candies (which change seasonally). It’s even served in a pizza box. But keep in mind – it still is the size of a small pizza. So don’t plan on eating the whole thing by yourself – unless you take your time or are recovering from a particularly bad break-up.

What’s pizza without wings? Yep, Chocolate Pizza Company has made wings to go along with their famous ‘pizza’. They take potato chips and dip them in creamy chocolate. Undoubtedly, my favorite are the peanut butter ‘wings’ that are first coated in peanut butter and then dipped in chocolate.

Of course the chocolate shop also sells a variety of other treats and sweets. Visit the storefront in Marcellus or shop online to see all of their creations.

Hercules Candy Company

You can’t talk about the history of chocolate-making in Syracuse without paying homage to Hercules Candy Company. Now owned by Steve and Terry Andrianos, the family-owned company goes back multiple generations when 3 Andrianos brothers emigrated to New York from Greece via Boston. They first settled in Fulton in 1905, where they learned the art of candy-making, before opening their first shop five years later.

The Boston Candy Kitchen opened its doors in East Syracuse in 1910, where it operated for 14 years. At that point, one of the brothers returned to Greece while the other two moved their candy operation back north to Fulton. But one of the brothers came back to Syracuse with his wife in 1931 to continue the business there. In 1945, he changed the name from Boston Candy Kitchen to Hercules Candy Company as an ode to his father.

The business stayed in the family through the next generation, but was closed in 1972 by the current owner’s father, Steven. That was when Steve started saving his pennies with a dream of reopening the family business. In 1977, 21-year-old Steve did just that. Since then the business has been operating continuously. (Though it wasn’t until 1988 that they started operating year-round instead of only in the winter.)

Now the shop continues to honor the family tradition of hand-making all of their confections. In addition to their wide variety of chocolates, Hercules also specializes in ribbon candy and hard candies.

Fun fact: if you’re looking for signature molded chocolate for your event or business, Hercules has you covered. Contact them to create a custom mold with your design. Also, for an historic company, they are crushing it on social media with their behind-the-scenes candy making videos.

The Speach Family Candy Shoppe

Similar to the Andrianos family, the Speach family has a lot of history in the Syracuse chocolate scene. Another immigrant-started business, Michael “Speach” Spicciati first opened the candy shop in 1920. Over the next two decades, Michael moved back and forth between Syracuse and Cortland. During that time he met and married fellow Italian immigrant Teresa and together they had ten children.

The Speach family was lucky enough to keep their business afloat during the Great Depression despite some personal setbacks. When the candy shop caught fire, they continue to sell candy out of their daughter Libby’s home. When the second World War hit, the candy business closed its doors. Michael passed away in 1960.

Fast forward a few more decades and Speach Candy Company breathed new life. Michael’s grandson, Michael Ernest, found the original recipes and revived the family business. Michael Ernest and his wife moved the business to Liverpool before returning it to the family’s previous property at 2400 Lodi Street. After some much-needed renovations, the first floor became the retail shop with manufacturing on the floor above.

Today the shop is in its 4th generation of Speach-family owners. It carries on the family legacy with truffles, chocolate-covered potato chips, jellies, brickle, nut clusters… They also specialize in chocolate-covered bacon, fresh fruit arrangements, old-fashioned sodas, and custom orders for molded chocolate.

Sweet on Chocolate

Of all the chocolate shops in Syracuse, there is only one located downtown: Sweet on Chocolate. The chocolate shop was first established in 1993, but has been under new ownership since 2018. Current owner and chocolatier Adam Mazzoni is one of the most creative and energetic folks you will ever meet. If you’re ever in the shop when he is there, you’ll see that his spunk and passion for chocolate is unmatched.

Located in Armory Square, it’s hard to walk by the Sweet on Chocolate storefront without stepping inside to enjoy the chocolate-y aroma and browse the current selection. Large glass display cases are filled with truffles, barks, chocolate-covered goodies, and more. You’ll find a lot of the more traditional flavors of course, but Adam is always experimenting with new flavor combinations. So the special truffles change seasonally, and often correspond with local events. For example, the sangria truffle from a sangria truffle downtown. Harry Potter truffles for the famous wizard’s birthday in July. Adam even made me some signature horchata truffles for my Wandercuse launch party last year.

There are always a variety of seasonal confections to browse through as well as a handful of creatively-flavored chocolate bars. But my absolute favorite thing at Sweet on Chocolate? Their hot chocolate. It is by far the best hot chocolate I have ever tasted, and I would gladly be quoted on that. It’s phenomenal – so make sure you try it when you’re at the shop.

* Did you know that Sweet on Chocolate is also a participating business on the Wandercuse passport?

Chocolate Shops in Upstate New York Worth the Drive

While there are several fantastic chocolate shops in Syracuse to visit, there are plenty more across the state. I’ve happily done the proper taste-testing… I mean research on the places below. So here are other chocolate shops worth visiting on your New York State adventures.

Barkeater Chocolates

📍 North Creek, NY

Deb and Jim Morris established Barkeater Chocolates within a café in 2008. With a passion for good, quality chocolate, the Morris family always found it difficult to source their beloved sweet snacks locally. So they decided to create their own. Named after the mountains around them, “Barkeater” is the English translation of the Mohawk term “Adirondack”.

Over the next few years, the business expanded into a new location at the old Sterling House on Gift Road in North Creek. It’s clear the passion that the Morris family has for their chocolate business. Deb is well educated on the history of the cacao beans and chocolate making. In fact, she’s happy to share all about how the cacao beans are grown in tropical climates and how they make their way to New York State to become the delicious treat we all know and love.

Barkeater Chocolates sources their cacao beans from a family on the Ivory Coast. All the recipe development and chocolate creation is done at their haunted factory in North Creek.

Visiting Barkeater Chocolates

So what do they sell? A little bit of everything! They first specialized in truffles – everyone’s favorite thing to order at a candy shop. But they’ve expanded to include a wide range of sweet treats. You’ll find peanut butter cups, chocolate bars of all flavors, chocolate bark, solid chocolate shapes, flavored hot chocolate… The list goes on. They even sell chocolate soap and chocolate-scented candles.

If you’re planning a visit to Barkeater, consider scheduling a chocolate-making class. You can choose from the private chocolate making experience or the haunted factory chocolate session. The first experience includes details about the chocolate-making process and allows guests to create their own sweet treats to bring home. The haunted experience tells the stories from the house’s spooky history, and ends with making chocolate ghosts!

Gretchen’s

📍 Auburn, NY

If you’re in the Auburn area, Gretchen’s Confections is a must-visit. Located in the heart of the city, the shop is run by chocolatier Gretchen, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Seattle. She then took chocolate classes in Montreal and Chicago before settling in Skaneateles with her family. Now, she owns the best little chocolate shop and cafe in Auburn.

Gretchen’s Confections sells a wide variety of hand-crafted, beautiful gourmet chocolates. Truffles filled with caramel, peanut butter, fruited creams… Plus the shop also operates as a cafe, making it the perfect spot to grab lunch or coffee.

My favorite treat that Gretchen has created is the “Harriet Tubman Truffle” – butterfly shaped chocolate filled with honey caramel and white ganache. Why? Because Harriet referred to Auburn as the land of milk and honey.

Hedonist Artisan Chocolates

📍 Rochester, NY

I first learned about Hedonist Artisan Chocolates when I discovered some on my pillow at the Black Sheep Inn & Spa. After doing a bit more research, I learned that the Rochester-based company was founded in 2007 by Jennifer Posey. Hedonist was her way of building a life filled with her passions of food, art, and creativity. Jennifer crafts her memories into delicious creations for her customers.

Using fresh, local ingredients, all of the chocolate creations at Hedonist are made right in Rochester. Through partnerships with several other local businesses, you can find Hedonist at local shops, wineries, and breweries.

In addition to the standard chocolate selection, Hedonist also carries chocolate-covered fruit, drinking chocolates, and even vegan and dairy-free creations.

One of my favorite things about Hedonist? They have two signature items honoring local women’s history. The Susan B. Anthony Salted Caramels and the National Women’s Hall of Fame Salted Caramel boxes. Twenty percent of the proceeds from both is donated to the respective organization.

Man in the Moon Candies

📍 Oswego, NY

Oswego’s favorite chocolate shop, Man in the Moon Candies, is a local legend. Owner Amy Stone-Lear continues her grandparents’ legacy of providing quality candies to the local community. The candy shop dates back to 1935, when the Amy’s grandparents started the company. Ray and Gladys began by selling hard suckers – shaped like a grinning man in the moon.

Located in the heart of downtown Oswego, Man in the Moon continues to be at the center of the local community. As soon as you step inside the shop, the smell of chocolate welcomes you with open arms. The historic local candy shop makes some delicious chocolates and fudge varieties, and in the summer they have ice cream too.

Man in the Moon Candies

Tell me your thoughts!