The newest gem in Harvard Square. Artistic chocolates and truffles blended with brilliant sensuous aromas and flavors such as lavender and port, or my favorite, carmelized honey and herbs de Provence. Cocoa nibs available here too, chocolate dipped dried pears, and splendid real hot chocolate, also available iced. They also have a shop in Walpole, New Hampshire and ship orders.
Formerly the Chocolate Box Cafe in Porter Square, Cambridge, they've now moved down the street to Arlington. Classic truffles (white and dark filled, all dark coating, very fresh and good variety of flavors (unusually good buttercreams too); in spring, excellent chocolate dipped strawberries. Lindt white truffles 25c each sometimes. Dark chocolate Easter eggs and bunnies. Sip an expresso while you wait for them to fill out a large order.
Plenty of boxed chocolates. Frank Cardullo can tell you which ones just came in. (Others may have been on the shelves for months. You'll have to know the inventory.) He will special order Neuhaus truffles from Belgium along with his regular Neuhaus shipment if you ask. Mozart truffes, Valrhona squares, and others in bulk. Sarments du Médoc dark chocolate twigs are much better than Rademaker sticks.
Good price on Rademaker sticks, Droste pastilles, Lindt truffles, and other boxed chocolate. The smaller versions of Joseph Schmidt truffles are more appealing than the big egg shaped and gooey ones. Ask for fresh ones that haven't been sitting out. I like Amaretto and the newer one, caramel. At Valentine's day buy the heart shaped truffles early (Dante truffles) and those tiny conversation hearts. (The newest ones say "email me.")
Corporate charges take forever. Godiva truffles (American ones; make sure they're fresh; they come in about once a month) and Harvard commemorative chocolate shields (silver, gold and crimson wrapped!). Best price on The Sweet Shop boxed truffles (a pretty good backup for truffles in a pinch), Droste Pastilles, and occasional sales on boxed chocolate.
Absolutely the best presentation. Get the checkerboard truffles, tea triangles and cappuccino cups along with a few other chocolates from the same syndicated chocolatier. They will deliver by local courier.
Terrific, but kind of big, truffles. I still don't know which flavor is which, but they're all very dark and extremely good. They'll arrive cold in a UPS box discreetly marked "TCT". Let them warm up a long time. Boston Magazine's Best Truffle Award.
The best fresh white chocolate I found (also try the white chocolate at Burdick's). Dark and white chocolate sea shells (around $14/lb.) Beautiful truffles. Request dark and white coatings and ask for some Cranberry truffles. UPS shipping very fair.
Bittersweet couverture organically grown on the Big Island of Hawaii, 64% cocoa mass. Quarter-shaped "pistoles" Expensive in gourmet shops.
Truffles flown in weekly from Robert Linxe's shop in Paris. Small rectangular fine champagne cognac truffes. Other exquisite chocolate gems (flavored truffles) to get are: Arriba (intense wafer-thin ganache), Andalousie (three different cocoa beans and lemon), Garrique (fennel and anise), Pavé du Faubourg (six different Caribbean chocolates and "special herbs"), Salvador (flavored with fresh raspberry pulp), Cannelle (cinnamon infused), Othello (mountain honey), and, well, all the rest. For special occasions and money to spend (>$50/lb). Fed Ex shipping a hefty sum so order more in weight to make it worthwhile, or drop by their shop on Madison Ave. (2-day shipping available in winter.) They have a new book out too, but in French I think.
I discovered this one while at an RNA meeting in Banff; rivals La Maison which uses Callebaut couverture in their own recipes. Received many awards such as the "Prix d'Excellence" at the "Festival International du Chocolat". Elegant and extremely fresh.
The newest and indeed best chocolaterie in downtown Boston (1997, 1998 Best of Boston Award "Best Chocolate"). Perfectly delicious chocolates and truffles flown in fresh weekly from Zurich. Located beneath Toppers' millinery near the Copley T station. A must try if you're in the area, or visit one of their many other stores. I've been to the shops in New York and Prague and always stop in for at least a champagne truffle. A friend of mine who shall remain nameless will be immortalized here for having brought me about a pound of truffles back from the actual shop in Zurich, and then placing them on his heater for just a few minutes (or so he says). Actually, can you imagine, there's really nothing better than savoring the whole box with 2 spoons! (He is more than forgiven.)
With exotic truffles, this is the one I'm most keen to try this season. I read about it it a magazine at Ouidad's New York salon. Wasabi and chocolate - hmm, an asian twist on spicy mexican chocolate, with ginger and black sesame seeds. This place espouses an east meets west theme. Unusual spices, flavorings, and chocolate combinations, and a beautiful website. Truffles in flavors like mint julep, absinthe (with Chinese star anise; actual absinthe is absent), Indian curry, and even couture cocoas. For the fashionably epicurious.
Amusingly, where else can you find truffaloes (truffles shaped in buffalo molds) but in Buffalo, NY? Wings too, of course. Steve Weinstein's favorite are the dark chocolate cinnamints. Cheery pink packaging and very sweet treats.
To keep filled chocolates fresh, pack in one or two ziploc bags, getting as much air out as possible. Refrigerate only for long storage in bottom drawer of fridge. Let sit at room temp at least 3 hours before use (longer if shipped cold) still in sealed bag(s) to prevent condensation. Like a red wine, chocolate is best served warm. Do not refrigerate solid chocolate, except in very warm weather.
More chocolate stores in the Boston and New Hampshire area:
The chocolate lover's page
Yahoo's chocolate page
Fran's: a must try when in Seattle (I'm so glad my brother spent a year
there). Truffles very fresh and dark
There are some truffle recipes online, but this link from
"Cocolat" by Alice Medrich is still online; her book has
some useful techniques. I prefer working with a 2:1 ratio of chocolate
to cream if I plan to dip them, without butter (from La Maison du
Chocolate), and I like to
use creme fraiche instead of cream for a different flavor. I also use
strong flavorings like
cognac or concentrated infused tea, but remember that liquid makes the
centers soft and difficult to work with, so use sparingly. I've never
microwaved chocolate as in the online recipe, but it sounds like a good
idea once in a while, for convenience.
Dipping chocolate is the right temperature if it feels cool when
dotted on your lower lip. I generally consider the whole process (mixing,
flavoring, rolling, dipping, decorating) a 2-3 day
endeavor. Invite friends!
- Laura Landweber
updated January, 2001