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.” 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 locally-liked 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. Here is grand ice cream topped with truffled hot fudge, dark-amber caramel sauce, freshly-made marshmallow topping, or crunchy-crisp, well-salted nuts. Have a classic “Mexicano” (chocolate sauce and Spanish peanuts) or a Delphi Maiden of chocolate chip and coffee ice cream topped with marshmallow, chocolate sauce, and toasted almonds. Or just a regular sundae topped with devilishly chocolaty hot fudge. For a distinctly Buffalonian treat, consider a sponge candy sundae, for which large chunks of candy are piled atop ice cream and crowned with (freshly) whipped cream.