At the end of an alley just off the Bowery in lower Manhattan is a converted turn-of-the-century stable where John Down creates exquisite miniature cappuccino cups, cellos and pearl necklaces--all made from chocolate. Down started Christopher Norman Chocolates to support his other career, painting, and his candies are like artwork. Many are even finished with delicate brush strokes of gold leaf or cocoa. Amazingly, they taste as good as they look, even when Down experiments with impossible-sounding flavorings like bergamot or Chartreuse. For the holidays, he makes extraordinary white-chocolate Christmas ornaments and burnishes them with an edible metallic glaze. These opalescent baubles, which are five inches in diameter, offer a surprise: break them open and you'll find a mini-constellation of dark-chocolate stars inside ($90 each; 212-677-3722).
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