UPPER EAST SIDE — Italian coffee company Filicori Zecchini launched its first retail shop in the U.S. on Lexington Avenue this fall — offering dozens of flavors of chocolates and pralines, including a mustard and a whisky and honey variety.
The small 200-square-foot store at 1031 Lexington Ave. officially opened its doors last month, but is celebrating a grand opening on Wednesday with free tastings and hors d'oeuvres from 6 to 9 p.m.
"I think if you really enjoy quality over quantity, it’s well worth a stop in," said Cynthia Chovet, the company's director of retail in North America.
Chocolate bars at the tiny shop come in ground hazelnut, candied lemon and candied orange varieties. And its extensive selection of pralines includes olive oil & salt, mustard, rum, raspberry bloom and whisky and honey flavors. The chocolates can be purchased individually or customers can create a custom box.
Individual chocolate prices start at $6. Boxes can run from $9.60 for four-pieces to $121 for 64 pieces, Chovet said.
All of the chocolate is handmade in Bologna, Italy, which known as the "bread basket of Italy," and shipped overseas, Chovet said.
"Anyone who has ever bought or received a box of chocolates as a gift doesn't like every single piece, but we have a really nice mix of things," Chovet said.
Coffee grounds and beans, including Filicori Zecchini's Delicato, forte espresso and decaf versions are also available, along with 30 different types of whole-leaf teas and 23 types of flavored tea bags, including apple cinnamon, sweet amaretto, peach and vanilla and whisky and honey.
An eight-piece box of personally-selected teas is priced at $6.40 and a 27-piece box is $21.60.
Since it is a retail store, Filicori Zecchini doesn't serve hot tea or coffee but promises to give out free samples.
Filicori Zecchini has six cafes across Manhattan, but this is its first flagship retail store, said Chovet, adding that the company is currently hunting for more retail locations in Manhattan.
The company chose to open its first shop on the Upper East Side because it still has a quite a few small, family-owned businesses, just like Filicori Zecchini, which has been family run since 1919, Chovet said.
The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and its grand opening will be from 6 to 9 p.m. on Nov. 4.