Sunday, January 9, 2011
Boston Chocolate Tour + Sunday in the City
I had the good fortune to spend Saturday afternoon in the South End on a tour operated by the Boston Chocolate Tour Company. There was a groupon for half off this experience awhile ago, and hey, I do love chocolate.
The guide was nice but seemed a little, well, itinerant and playing the part more than actually loving chocolate. We met at Code 10, a small sandwich shop off of Washington Street.
Code 10: brownie from Rosie's Bakery (I believe it was the chocolate orgasm. Delicious).
Flour Bakery: Joanne's homemade oreos, well, simply fabulous. I'm more of a brownie kind of girl, but that chocolate cookie would have made an incredible pie crust, I think.
Termont 647: Chocolate shot and chocolate cherry brownies. I was disappointed by the shot; the proportions tasted very alcoholic, but there was something off about the actual mixing. There were pools of something starting to coalesce in the drink. It was like the alcohol and coffee weren't fully incorporated, sort of like an incompletely mixed Italian Dressing. Tasted good, though.
[Choclee Chocolates was on the original list, but we didn't go there, I'm not sure why. Too bad, though, since it was the only shop that sold just pastries and chocolate.] We went to Appleton Cafe instead, which had delicious cupcakes and brownies.
Picco: serving pizza and ice cream, their dark chocolate ice cream was incredible. I have a hard time making small-batch chocolate chip ice cream in my own set-up here, so it's always a treat to eat chocolate chip.
(my family would know, as I probably polished off about half a bucket of Kemps peppermint bonbon. Mm, tastes of childhood).
But at Picco, we only got one spoon. The guide went into the store, and came back with a tray carrying 10 plastic spoons with ice cream. I get more of a taste of ice cream as Toscanini's, which is saying something.
Old Dutch Cottage Candy: an antique shop with candy shop, it was literally filled to the brim with bits of the Brahmin past of Boston as well as candy, though not in an organized or conventional way. Kind of Hansel and Gretel meets Hoarders, if you will. The real estate there is worth a fortune, and the owner knows it. But he still wears his Levi's and talks jokingly with all of his customers. A good man, yes, but not what I was expecting. I wanted the candy store from Willy Wonka, and I think that is too much to ask this day and age.
Aunt Sadie's: a candle and specialty shop, this store doesn't sell chocolate, which makes its inclusion into the chocolate tour a little, well, odd. Orange chocolates from an unnamed Jamaica Plain chocolatier were passed around, and were delicious, not that I'd know where to find them. The lilac candle actually smelled like lilac, however, so they get extra points for that.
South End Buttery: Delicious hot cocoa, though me and my cocomotion do better. We were also served cupcakes, which had fairly buttery buttercream. Good, but I like frostings with a bit less of a butter taste.
Ultimately, I'm disappointed that none of the chocolatiers talked to us about chocolate except the chef at the South End Buttery, explaining cocoa butter and some other facts about the process they use. Yet, I learned absolutely nothing new. We didn't meet Joanne Chang, didn't get to even go inside Picco to see the ice-cream-making process, none of that. Yes, perhaps as a scientist (and the recipient of a wonderful chocolate lecture by my undergraduate biochemistry professor) I was more prepared than most. But I still expected more.
However, it was a gorgeous winter day, and the two mile walk back was peaceful and chilly. The South End is beautiful, and it'd be a nice place to live if I could afford it. Side streets were quiet, and almost everyone was walking a dog. My kind of afternoon, I think.