Aigner Chocolates has been a popular chocolate shop in Forest Hills for nearly 90 years, creating delicious treats for customers over the decades. Now, under new ownership, the shop is keeping many longstanding traditions, but is also making some changes for old and new customers alike.
Since buying Aigner Chocolates (formerly Krause’s Candy Kitchen), located at 103-02 Metropolitan Ave., in 2015, husband-and-wife duo Mark Libertini and Rachel Kellner have worked hard to have the chocolate shop remain a favorite in the community. They kept the Aigner name and even the more-than-50-year-old equipment in the shop, but they also introduced their own spin on things.
The couple has their chocolate shipped in from Switzerland and makes all their chocolate products in the chocolate kitchen where everything is molded, and a confectionery kitchen where they make all of their fillings, creams, marshmallows and caramel, all right in the shop.
“We do everything soup to nuts, just the way they’ve been doing it here for 50 or 60 years,” Libertini said. “It’s nice to continue a tradition. You feel like you’re a part of something that’s bigger than you.”
“We have a lot of our customers who come in, they’re 50, 60, 70 years old,” Kellner added. “And they’ve been coming here since they were kids with their grandparents, and Mark and I feel really honored and privileged to be able to continue the chocolate tradition, and help families start new traditions.”
Another big thing — literally — that the new owners have kept since taking over Aigners is the tradition of raffling off “Harvey the Bunny,” a giant, 25-pound chocolate bunny, just in time for Easter. All the money collected in the raffle will be matched dollar for dollar by the owners, and will then be donated to a local charity.
Although Kellner and Libertini have kept many things the same, they have added their own flavor to Aigner Chocolates.
In addition to new molds, Libertini has used his knowledge in pastry making to create new designs and infuse chocolates with different types of fruits and flavors.
“We’ve tried to make what’s good, even better,” Kellner said. “And the customers are so excited when we roll out new items.”
Another new thing Libertini and Kellner introduced is ice cream made from their chocolates. They have milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate ice cream that they serve by the scoop in the summer and by the container during the other seasons.
They have also extended their hours of operation to cater to even more customers. Aigner Chocolates is open on Monday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., to bring in an “after-dinner crowd,” Kellner explained.
If someone wants to buy some chocolates but can’t make it into the store, Aigner takes online orders and ships anywhere in the country.
To learn more about Aigner Chocolates and all of their products, visit their website and Facebook page.