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Alethea's

8301 Main St., Williamsville, NY - (716) 633-8620
Posted By Michael Stern on 8/11/2012 3:04:00 PM
Alethea was the name of Dean Tassy's great-grandmother, who was a chocolatier in Greece. Today, the store named for her is one of the top candy stores in America's top candy city. The repertoire is vast, including bon-bons and barks, truffles and turtles and the great Buffalo treat, sponge candy.

"I am an extremist," Tassy told us. "When it comes to chocolate, we have some of the darkest dark in the country, as well as the lightest light. Good chocolate must have real cocoa butter, NOT palm kernel oil like most of your chocolate wafers." And one bite provides assurance that Alethea's is the real thing. The dark in particular is more intense than espresso – ultimate chocolateness. Wrap that (or creamy milk chocolate) around some of Alethea's homemade marshmallow and add toasted bits of coconut and cashews and you have Charlie Chaplin, a confection found in no other city. Tassy told us the generally accepted story that the candy was named after the silent film comedian, who supposedly loved it, but nobody knows how it became a signature of Buffalo alone.

Like several of the other top candy shops in town, Alethea's also is an ice cream parlor -- one of the best anywhere.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Sponge Candy
Hot Fudge Sundae
Chocolate Covered Ginger
Charlie Chaplin
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Alethia's mint drizzle sundae includes vanilla and mint chip ice cream, plus an overload of hot fudge and marshmallow sauce.
"Alethia's mint drizzle sundae includes vanilla and mint chip ice cream, plus an overload of hot fudge and marshmallow sauce."
Cliff Strutz





A simple classic that cannot be improved: Alethea's hot fudge sundae. It is well worth the 30 cents extra you pay to have the vanilla ice cream and deep, dark hot fudge crowned with thick whipped cream. The nuts you can get to garnish a sundae are excellent and wouldn't hurt this concoction one bit, but neither are they necessary to find true ice-cream-parlor bliss.
"A simple classic that cannot be improved: Alethea's hot fudge sundae. It is well worth the 30 cents extra you pay to have the vanilla ice cream and deep, dark hot fudge crowned with thick whipped cream. The nuts you can get to garnish a sundae are excellent and wouldn't hurt this concoction one bit, but neither are they necessary to find true ice-cream-parlor bliss."
Michael Stern


If you love chocolate-covered ginger, Alethea's is a holy grail. Made with strong, clear, spicy ginger imported from Australia, it is a huge, chocolate-robed exclamation point.
"If you love chocolate-covered ginger, Alethea's is a holy grail. Made with strong, clear, spicy ginger imported from Australia, it is a huge, chocolate-robed exclamation point."
Michael Stern


Charlie Chaplin on display in Alethea's candy case. It contained roasted chips of coconut rather than the more common shreds. Chocolatier Dean Tassy explained, 'Chips pop with flavor.'
"Charlie Chaplin on display in Alethea's candy case. It contained roasted chips of coconut rather than the more common shreds. Chocolatier Dean Tassy explained, 'Chips pop with flavor.'"
Michael Stern


Buffalo's candy makers offer Charlie Chaplin in chunks, logs, rolls, and loaves. The common ingredients are marshmallow, cashews, coconut and, of course, chocolate. Even many dark-chocolate devotees find that the milk chocolate version has a more harmonious character.
"Buffalo's candy makers offer Charlie Chaplin in chunks, logs, rolls, and loaves. The common ingredients are marshmallow, cashews, coconut and, of course, chocolate. Even many dark-chocolate devotees find that the milk chocolate version has a more harmonious character."
Michael Stern


Personally, I don't really love marshmallows and never had a big interest in marshmallow topping on sundaes. Alethea's homemade stuff, freshly made from egg whites, sugar and corn syrup, made me a believer.
"Personally, I don't really love marshmallows and never had a big interest in marshmallow topping on sundaes. Alethea's homemade stuff, freshly made from egg whites, sugar and corn syrup, made me a believer."
Michael Stern


To me, naked sponge is nothing more than a curiosity. It is basso profundo dark chocolate combined with ethereal sponge that makes my appetite growl.
"To me, naked sponge is nothing more than a curiosity. It is basso profundo dark chocolate combined with ethereal sponge that makes my appetite growl."
Michael Stern


Most people would say chicken wings or, possibly, beef on weck, when naming Buffalo's best culinary attractions. It also is a city of great chocolate shops and world-class ice cream parlors.
"Most people would say chicken wings or, possibly, beef on weck, when naming Buffalo's best culinary attractions. It also is a city of great chocolate shops and world-class ice cream parlors."
Michael Stern


Bringing chocolate from Alethea's as a hostess gift can be a problem if, like us, temptation is too great to leave such superior confections untouched. It could be embarrassing to present a hostess with a half-eaten box of sponge candy!
"Bringing chocolate from Alethea's as a hostess gift can be a problem if, like us, temptation is too great to leave such superior confections untouched. It could be embarrassing to present a hostess with a half-eaten box of sponge candy!"
Michael Stern


Decisions, decisions: One layer of a two-pound box presents an impossible number of choices, starting with a quartet of mighty fine turtles at the far left.
"Decisions, decisions: One layer of a two-pound box presents an impossible number of choices, starting with a quartet of mighty fine turtles at the far left."
Michael Stern



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