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Rec's for dessert/sweet tour in BOS?

Visiting Boston next week, and hoping to find some really exceptional desserts -- specifically those with adventurous flavors combining fruit and herbs/flowers/teas. From my research thus far, Clio, Salts and EVOO all look interesting -- are there others I should try? (The CH consensus on Finale seems to be "thumbs down".)

Also: I'd welcome recommendations for artisanal chocolatiers, ice cream/gelato emporia, and bakeries offering products with similar flavors. I already know about Richart at Copley Place, Temper, Serene, and Beacon Hill Chocolates; Christina's, Toscanini's, JP Licks, and Lizzy's; and South End Buttery and Tabrizi Bakery.

I'll be based in Watertown, but armed with a LinkPass for the T, so anything within MBTA territory is fair game.

Thanks in advance for your recommendations!

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  1. Rice pudding tinged with rose at Reef Cafe in Allston
    Turkish dessert's at Sultan's Kitchen in Financial District
    xian2 jian1 bing3 (sweet and salty fried dough with 5 spice, a traditional Cantonese snack) at Maxim's in Chinatown
    mishti dol (caramelized milk yogurt) at Royal Bengal in Central Square
    not exactly local, but there's also Laloo goat's mlk ice cream fro Whole Foods

    1 Reply
    1. re: limster

      Great! Exactly the kind of things I'm looking for. Thanks.

      (BTW, I've met Laura Howard, founder of Laloo's, at several of the fancy food shows; her chocolate cabernet is spectacular.)

    2. I'm surprised you haven't mentioned Mike's Pastry. Maybe it's just because I used to be a student in Boston and we tend to graviate towards cheap treats, but Mike's is where I think of when I think Boston and sweet. I've never been a big fan of those brightly colored Italian cookies, but their cannoli are definitely classic, tasty cannoli.

      J.P. Lick's has a location in Somerville, where I went to school, so I used to go for their oatmeal cookie flavor hard frozen yogurt with heath bar as a topping. It really tasted exactly like a frozen, creamy oatmeal cookie.

      I also was a fan of the South End Buttery, though I've only tried a few varieties of cupcakes. It wasn't too heavy on the frosting, and instead relied on its moist, fluffy cake to leave an impression. It's someplace I'll definitely be visiting when I make a trip out to the South End again. Hope this helps!

      1 Reply
      1. re: LikeFrogButOOOH

        Mike's can't compare to less touristy bakeries in the N End like Maria's.

      2. Choc. bread pudding at Sonsie or Sorisso, choc. almond croissant at Canto 6 in JP, grapenut ice cream at Toscanini or Louie's in Somerville (is Louie's open for the season), dessert sampler at Union in the south end, bread pudding is usually good at Bricco or Umbra, and I can't vouch for the pistachio souffle at Sasso but I'll try it as soon as I get there.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Joanie

          First, I think you mean Serenade Chocolatier in Brookline Village....just in case you are looking it up I want you to be able to find it. I would highly recommend Flour Bakery in the South End.......unbelievably excellent pastries. Also the Langham Hotel in Post Office Square (the financial district) has a chocolate bar on Saturday's 12:00-3:00 that is great but expensive.....$30.00. The Bristol Lounge at the Four Seasons would be another recommendation.


          1. re: edgewater

            Serene Chocolates is in Cambridge. It is located underneath Dolphin Seafood. They carry a variety of chocolate, including La Tene from Somerville.

            1. re: edgewater

              As beetlebug pointed out, I did mean Serene in Cambridge, but thanks for the referral to Serenade. And to Flour Bakery, which looks interesting.

          2. i second the bristol lounge. they have an amazing dessert buffet on weekend nights. getting hungry just thinking about it. Another place with great desserts is casa romero. i had this coconut cheesecake/flan thing that was just divine. that with a glass of port is a great way to end a night.

            1. Oleana definitely. The brown butter bread pudding beats the pants off of Sonsie's chocolate BP, and the rice pudding if it's still on the menu, WAY better than that of reef cafe. Otherwise, Clear Flour bakery in Brookline, Flour Bakery in the south end, hot chocolate from Burdick's, and if anyone knows where the pastry chef from Sibling Rivalry went, I always really liked her stuff.

              1. Indian pudding with vanilla ice cream at Durgin Park is a must.

                For regular ice cream, I'd put JP Licks, Christina's, and Lizzy's on the back burner and go with Toscanini's, Herrell's, Emack & Bolio's, and Picco. I was also less than impressed with the quality and price of chocolates at Richart's.

                3 Replies
                1. re: bachslunch

                  Sorry to follow up my own post, but if you're a chocolate lover with boatloads of money, the chocolate buffet at Cafe Fleuri in the Langham Hotel is terrifically good. They don't have it during the summer, though.

                  1. re: bachslunch

                    I've been to the chocolate buffet here. If any of you go, I'd recommend one thing, order something salty from the waiter. I ordered french fries. After eating a lot of chocolate my mouth wanted something different. The people I was with thought I was crazy. But when the fries came out and they had one, they liked it. Plus the salt from the fries will enhance the chocolate flavors when you eat the chocolate stuff.

                  2. re: bachslunch

                    I liked the ice creams at Picco a lot too, an abundance of flavour but still balanced. I don't like their hot fudge -- it's made from Schaffenberger and has too much of an acidic finish for my taste.

                  3. I haven't been (yet), but you might try the Chocolate Lounge in Central Square
                    and let us know how it is.

                    As far as Ice cream goes, I'd skip JP Licks. Toscanini's and Christina's just blow it out of the water.

                    Finally, since you're in Watertown, there is a whole universe of Armenian sweets at the shops along Mt. Auburn St. and elsewhere.

                    p.s. whatever you do, avoid Finale.

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: BostonZest

                        Thanks for letting me know. They ought to remove it from their website.

                    1. Milk Tea pudding & a green tea eclair from Cafe Cakes in Watertown!!

                      8 Replies
                        1. re: SASSYMI2

                          How did I forget Burdick's in Cambridge? Linz is right. That's a must. I will have to check out Serene Chocolates in Cambridge. I'm not familiar with it. There is also Chocochoco House on Pembroke Street in the South End which has some interesting creations.

                          1. re: SASSYMI2

                            Indian Pudding is a *very* old-fashioned traditional New England dessert - cornmeal and molasses pudding, ideally baked in a slow oven for hours on end (many recipes specify as much as 6 hours.) In restaurants nowadays, usially topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Wonderful stuff, though probably not the cutting-edge dessertcraft that the OP had in mind.

                          2. re: makonna

                            Re: makonna's suggestion above - I think this may be the only recommendation in this whole thread so far that actually speaks to the OP's request for "really exceptional desserts -- specifically those with adventurous flavors combining fruit and herbs/flowers/teas." I really need to try Cafe Cakes!

                            1. re: Allstonian

                              Sweet Tooth in South Boston on West Broadway (bus from Copley Square goes there) - best new bakery in Boston

                              1. re: teezeetoo

                                Aha! Sweet Tooth Boston had completely escaped me -- thanks for the rec. (Too bad their web site, www.sweettooth-bakery.com, is only "half baked").

                            2. re: makonna

                              Second that completely! Love Cafe Cakes.

                              That reminds me - another place with interesting desserts is O Ya.

                            3. Don't forgot Danish Pastry House in Watertown (and Medford). If you love chocolate and/or marzipan, you will love this place. We had them do a book cake for my nephew's bar mitzvah, and it was so incredibly wonderful that 60 people finished a cake meant for 100! It consisted of almond cake on the bottom, chocolate cake on top, chocolate buttercream between the layers, and the entire thing enrobed in marizipan and decorated with a marzipan bookmark and flowers. To make the cake look like an old book, they spent 5(!) hours shaping and "aging" the leaves of the book with a blow torch. Quite an extraodinary and delicious creation!

                              1. Be warned, the 'T' employees (bus and subways) can be a bit gruff. It's good you've got a Charlie card (or similar). If you're right in Watertown, go to the tiny 'Tabrizzi Bakery' - 56 Mt. Auburn, one block from Starbuck's heading away from Cambridge (toward the Sq). Nice pastries, Iranian specialties, but the Halvah is my fave - incredibly fresh and 2-3 choices of flavor. And they'll cut pieces for you.