Chocoholic or not, this tour is for you! Two and a half hours of bliss brought to you courtesy of Boston Chocolate Tours, and a little sprinkling of Boston history along the way.
I’m going to preface this post by saying that the Boston Chocolate Tours absolutely know what’s going on. Not only do they have phenomenal guides, but their knowledge is immense and you can expect to be in a chocolate coma at the end of the day. They show you restaurants and boutiques that you may never have visited otherwise. Great for history buffs, foodies and the ever curious person, they provide every way chocolate can be served. And for the record, it’s not just a two pound hunk of chocolate split up throughout the afternoon. While I’ll go into some detail of the tour itself, I encourage you to take the tour and don’t live vicariously through me. It will be money well spent. Hopefully I won’t take away from the amazing job they did but only entice a few more people to get out there and get to know this fabulous area of Boston!
The South End in Boston is where I visit every Sunday in the summer. It’s home to my favorite open air market, the SoWa Open Market which has local food, vintage shopping, food trucks galore and local artisans. It’s a very indie neighborhood with a diverse population and abundance of dog-loving people. I’d say it’s pretty similar to that of Greenwich Village in NYC.
Our tour started at the very unassuming Code 10 where we met up with tour guide, Victoria Kichuk. We bonded over similarly hard to spell and pronounce last names. While Code 10 serves a full menu of comfort food all day long, they also happen to feature goodies from Rosie’s Bakery. The specific item that was samples was the Chocolate Orgasm, a mouthwatering brownie explosion. Victoria’s rule of no chocolate left behind was strictly enforced from here on out.
We then made our way to Flour Bakery. Joanne Chang owns and works as head pastry chef for this establishment. Her accolades are pretty impressive, beating out Bobby Flay on Throwdown, Mission: Sticky Buns and being a James Beard semi-finalist among many other things. The group sampled her homemade “oreo” whose recipe is also featured in her book, Flour.
Tremont 647 was definitely the highlight of our trip for me. As a little side note, I have been on their mailing list since moving to Boston and never have been there. (If you live in or around Boston, it’s great- so sign up here). I’ve always been excited about everything they’re concocting and all the events they’re putting on, but just never brought my solo adventures to them. Their front end staff wears pajamas….seriously. It’s just an intimate local spot with food that puts them on the map. Not pretentious and totally my kind of place. Andy Husbands, owner and chef even made a guest appearance to talk our group through what his restaurant does. I’ll admit I geeked out a bit and shoveled my chocolate desserts courtesy of pastry chef Kate Birchman in my face so it didn’t show. It was fun getting to hear their side of things, having a raffle for their book Wicked Good Barbecue and taking time to let all that chocolate sink in.
Next stop was ChocoLee Chocolates. The Chocolate Proprietress herself Lee Napoli was there to walk us through all her hand crafted Callebaut truffles and confections. On the weekends she even brings back out her pastry chef knowledge (which by the way is immense) to make deliciously correct french pastries. She even brought out the big guns and served up hot out of the fryer chocolate beignets. How can one compete?
We then moved on to the Appleton Cafe which served up some various truffles and gelato to the group. It was a fun little stop which seemed to cater to healthy on the go coffee, chocolate and good food addicts.
Picco was by far one of the most surprising stops. Their speciality lies in freshly prepared meals, specifically wood fired pizzas. We were served homemade chocolate sorbet. Talk about the unexpected. It was definitely an amazing clean chocolate flavor that would be the fantastic way to end any meal.
We then made our way over to Felicity Sweets which is owned and operated by Sarah Horton. It was an eclectic mix of great gift items, trendy styles and of course chocolate. They provided a whole case dedicated to Lake Champlain Chocolates which is delivered weekly and always fresh. Carmelo, their official mascot was also there on hand to help greet us and make sure we found everything we needed.
Gracie Finn Gift Store was where we ended up next. They had a wide array of gifts and items for sale, along with what I’ll be saving up for in the future. But with their chocolate features, we were presented with chocolate candles by Aunt Sadie’s and unique chocolate confections courtesy of Vianne Chocolat. We graciously walked away with a sample of the Green Fairy, an intoxicating blend of dark chocolate, fresh cream and absinthe.
Our tour concluded with a stop to the South End Buttery. This great hangout, which by the way is pretty huge, has been nominated as a Best of Boston for many years. Their cupcakes in all flavors were presented to the group.
Our amazing two and a half hours spent in Boston’s South End was an eye opening experience not only from the sugar and caffeine buzz, but because of all we were able to walk away with. One last thing to note, I started a wheat free diet two weeks before this tour. About half of the tour samples did contain wheat products. That however didn’t stop me from enjoying what I could and taking pictures for everyone else for purposes of this blog. If you do go on this tour, let your guides know ahead of time as I think some things I assumed were wheat free, sadly were not. Luckily I don’t have an allergy and it’s only a lifestyle, but still, be careful what you eat. When in doubt, sniff it out. I head out for Boston Chocolate Tours, Beacon Hill Tour this weekend so I’ll keep you all posted.
<3 and Chocolate!