Another fabulous tour in the heart of Boston showcasing historic neighborhoods and immensely delicious chocolate, Boston Chocolate Tours brought our group two and a half hours of chocolate ecstasy. They combined it with a wonderfully animated tour guide whose education and history made for a truly unforgettable afternoon. While this post is a few month’s old in being written, and I have since moved out of state, this tour showcased one of my more enjoyable trips to Boston of which I had to document.
After taking part in this tour, the Beacon Hill area easily become one of my favorite areas in Boston due to the fact that I found the most amazing chocolate shop in this area (more about this below) and because of the general feel for the neighborhood (not to mention their awesome retro/vintage clothing shops). Beacon Hill is regarded as one of the most desirable and expensive neighborhoods in Boston, complete with endless rows of Federal-style rowhouses, gas-lit streets and brick sidewalks. The shops and local eateries very much reflect this lifestyle, but true to the character of Boston, it’s open to everyone and the people are very inviting.
Our tour consisted of us visiting seven local shops and eateries within the Beacon Hill area of Boston. We got to hear about the history of chocolate, listen to some great stories and sample chocolate at each of the shops along the way. While I took an endless array of photos, they don’t do it justice because of all the other sensations we got to experience along the way; taste was a major component of course.
Judith was our tour guide for the afternoon and brought a wonderfully bubbly and confident personality to the tour. She is an actress, of which definitely showed and helped her to engage us in the audience. To help bring our group together and help bond us in all things chocolate, we started the afternoon off with describing our favorite chocolate combinations and then getting assessed for our chocolate personalities. Dark chocolate lovers such as myself tended to be analytical, deep and romantic.
Our first stop and the meeting location for the tour was at J.P. Licks, a Boston based business that brought flavors reminiscent of the surrounding neighborhoods and unforgettable intensity to their coffees and ice cream. The group got to sample any flavors they liked, but chocolate was of course preferred.
Our next location was a short walk away to Beacon Hill Chocolates. This by far became my favorite place to purchase chocolates from after sampling their Guatemala truffle. The shop is quaint and filled with amazingly beautiful decoupage boxes that all are hand sourced and done specifically to store their exquisite truffles. The rest of the store is filled with chocolate items sourced from all over the world highlighting the finest artisans and most unique and delicious chocolates. They also have gelato and now carry french macarons. Their truffle case is mind boggling and takes very intense care to pair the finest ingredients with the chocolate that best compliments them. (As I’m writing this I had to pop into my cupboard to break out my emergency stash of chocolate I bought from them on my last trip to Boston).
Twig was the next stop on our journey and was a breath of fresh, flowers. They believe in a total floral experience where through the combinations sold in their store, enhance the floral experience and reflect the sentiment you are trying to convey. In short, some of the best items to go along with their never refrigerated flowers, including chocolate. The brand they represent is from a San Francisco couple, Recchiuti. We were able to sample a cardamon nougat which was simply wonderful with very clean flavors.
We then took a break from truffles and went for chocolate cupcakes at Isabelle’s Curly Cakes. If you read my last post, you’d know that on the previous chocolate tour had issues with sampling any gluten free options. Judith made sure to help me out wherever she could to get me an option to enjoy. While I didn’t get to enjoy a sample from Isabelle’s, I was directed to the gluten free option which I got to take home and try later, a Nutella version at that. This cupcakery gets its claim to fame by being run by Isabelle English, daughter to esteemed celebrity chef Todd English. Their frostings typically showcase an Italian buttercream which uses a cooked meringue in combination with sweet butter.
75 Chestnut was tucked away in the historic neighborhood of Beacon Hill amidst the more residential section. Mainly featuring American comfort food with a heightened take on them, their Chocolate Trilogy featured on their dessert menu features a very unique item in which we got to sample. chocolate soup. Yes, I am totally serious. It was a bit unnerving, but if you think of melted ice cream (which is used in part) with a slightly syrupy consistency with some Swiss almonds intermixed, you can get a good idea of what we were eating. It was unique and something I would have loved to try with the other two components of their Chocolate Trilogy offering.
We then made our trek through the Boston Public Gardens and got to sample more of the Boston history and heritage. Once we passed through there, we ended up at at Finale. I had went to Finale on a previous trip with my friend Shauna to take part in their tasting menu. They are a unique “restaurant” in that their featured items are desserts. While they have savory items, the main reason you go there is to cap out the night, and your sweet tooth. Our sample at Finale was their Dark Chocolate Decadence which was a fudgey (gluten free) truffle like cake with hints of coffee. It was stick to your insides delicious.
Our last stop for the evening, and probably the smartest was Maggiano’s. While we got to try their Triple Chocolate Decadence Balls (not gluten free), their Italian-American cuisine served in a warm and friendly atmosphere made for a great stop after all that chocolate (if you could stomach any more).
If you couldn’t tell already, I really enjoyed my tour. So much so that when I go back to Boston again, I would totally do it all over. While that area of Boston is usually my go to area, there was a lot of history and hidden gems we found that made it well worth the additional trip. It helped me to enjoy those places I may have overlooked and enjoy my local spot that much more. The group over at Boston Chocolate Tours truly cares about the communities in which it operates and helping you to have the best experiences with chocolate, even if it’s not your thing. I encourage you all to check them out and share with me your experiences. Enjoy!