The North Fork has gotten sweeter with the expansion of the North Fork Chocolate Company from one location to two new ones. The local chocolatier traded its original brick-and-mortar shop at 740 Main Road in Aquebogue — its home for the past eight years — for new outposts in Mattituck and Riverhead.
The Mattituck site, at 8700 Main Road, opened February 1, in time for the Valentine’s Day rush, while the Riverhead location is scheduled to open at 309 East Main Street on March 20. In closing one door and opening two new ones, the company expanded its business while broadening its geographic reach both eastward and westward.
“The total square feet of both locations combined is more than our last location,” says co-founder and Managing Director Ann Corley, adding that the expansion to Riverhead and Mattituck allows North Fork Chocolate “to better serve customers by reaching out to both communities.”
The small-batch artisanal chocolate and individual-size gourmet dessert concept was developed about a decade ago in the Stony Brook University Incubator at Calverton. Corley and co-founder Steve Amaral took their decadent delights on the road, offering them at farmers markets, country fairs and a pop-up at the Tanger Outlets in Riverhead before settling in at their former Aquebogue location.
“The new Mattituck location is on two acres in a park-like setting, with plenty of outdoor seating,” says Corley. There is also seating inside, at both café tables and on a couch. Customers can step right up to the display cases to choose their ornately-designed chocolates, as well as other treats, which include homemade ice cream, pies, cakes, torts, tarts, fudge, made-to-order Belgian waffles and more.
Unlike Mattituck, the new Riverhead location will have a “big open kitchen,” according to Corley. The new lunch menu in Riverhead will include a broad range of vegan and vegetarian dishes such as salads, bowls, wraps and avocado toast. Amaral, a Johnson & Wales University culinary graduate who serves as the company’s executive chef, will spend most of his time in Riverhead, while Corley will be based primarily in Mattituck.
From the beginning, North Fork Chocolate has used ingredients from Long Island farms and other local purveyors in its products and has collaborated with area businesses on joint promotions.
“We partner with many of the local vineyards, breweries and farms on events and by purchasing their products to create our unique locally-crafted chocolates,” Corley says. The handcrafted centers of the chocolates have featured fresh fruits, cream, sea salt, herbs, honey, spice, wine and spirits, among other products, made on Long Island. North Fork Chocolate’s other offerings get the same local treatment.
Additionally, the retailer displays and sells locals products and artworks, from jars of honey and hot sauce to crafts and paintings, at its shops. Throughout the region, North Fork’s chocolates are routinely paired with wines and other beverages at tasting events. For instance, a wine and chocolate pairing featuring North Fork Chocolate was held at Clovis Point Vineyard in Jamesport the weekend before Valentine’s Day.
“North Fork Chocolate is a great collaborator, and we had such a huge turnout for that event that we ordered more chocolate and did 50 more pairings the next weekend,” says Jennifer Brown, a tasting room pourer at Clovis Point. North Fork customers can also create their own pairings with the $7.95 chocolate tasting special, which allows them to choose four chocolate pieces, pack them up and bring them to a vineyard or elsewhere.
North Fork Chocolate is open for business Tuesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m.–6 p.m. For more info, visit northforkchocolate.com