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Best chocolates?

Any suggestions for great chocolates in the Boston area? Is Burdick's generally considered to be the best? I used to send my mom chocolates from Gearharts in Charlottesville, VA for her birthday every year but am trying to find a local spot. Anything even mildly comparable to Gearharts would be fabulous... Thanks!

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  1. I like the chocolates from Burdick. I have sent boxes of their chocolates as gifts, and they have cute ones like the mice and penguins.

    My favorite gift of chocolates that I received were Teuscher truffles, which is Swiss but has a shop in Boston. I normally wouldn't buy a box of just truffles, but these were outstanding and absolutely delicious.

    Beacon Hill Chocolates also has a nice shop with some good variety. Not sure where their chocolates are made.

    Probably depends on what you're looking for. I never heard of Gearhearts, but think all three of the above places have some great chocolates.

    1. Burdick's is great. You should also try Taza, a local producer in Somerville. Their chocolate is available at farmer's markets or in a variety of stores, including Whole Foods. I would recommend going to a farmer's market if you can to sample their chocolate before buying, as it is not conched and so has a very different texture than most other chocolate. Personally, I really like it and think it is some of the best chocolate around.

      5 Replies
      1. re: greenzebra

        I love Taza chocolate as well, but it is not comparable in style to Burdick's or Teuscher. Taza sells only full bars of chocolate, rather than boxes of fancy truffles. That is, Taza doesn't really present well as a gift, and not everyone likes the grittier texture and brighter flavors. (However, if you want to give me a case of Taza, I'd gladly accept). At Teuscher, I love the champagne truffles, and also recommend the lemon-filled squares and chocolate-dipped orange slices. You can't go wrong with Burdick's either.

        1. re: greenzebra

          Make that another vote for Taza, I really miss them. Serious stuff.

          1. re: limster

            Why do you miss them? They sell them all over the place, and you can mail order. Where do you live?

              1. re: limster

                Send me your address shnooks. ;-)

        2. Burdick's and Teuscher are both great. Each has its own style. Teuscher is a very traditional Swiss style of truffle. The flavors are not unique, but the quality is great. Burdick's does lots of unusal flavors and combinations. Also great quality.

          If Teuscher, don't miss the champagne truffles.

          1 Reply
          1. re: chocojosh

            I second the champagne truffles. A while back, they were sent to me. When they opened up a store on Newbury St., I knew I was in trouble. If there was only a champagne truffle diet......

          2. At work, we recently got a box of chocolates from Hotel Chocolat from a client and it was absolutely rich and not too sweet. They just opened at 141A Newbury Street.

            1. Richart chocolates are amazing; I often give them as gifts and people are consistently blown away by them. I think they're more interesting than the traditional ones (though you can buy a variety of pure bar chocolates from them as well). In the Copley mall....if you have never tried, I'd say you're missing out on something special.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Zatan

                Very unfortunately Richart has closed both of their US retail stores (there was one in San Francisco and one in Boston). However, you can still order them on-line or by phone from their office in San Francisco (http://www.richart-chocolates.com/). I completely agree with Zatan that the chocolate and flavors in Richart chocolate will blow you away. I've never tasted anything quite like them, and the presentation is novel and elegant. I would recommend an assortment of all 49 flavors of the Petits Richart. I really miss this store, and especially the very gregarious and knowledgeable ladies who worked there. They would often host events where they invited a local coffee company or a wine company to pair their wares with chocolate and offered free tastings.

                It is true that the chocolates are made in France and shipped, rather than being made right on the premises. However, I think that totally misses the point. Wherever they are made, they are made carefully, in small quantities, in a unique and artisanal process. Unlike some foods that we eat in restaurants, chocolates do not spoil or taste at all different if they are consumed several weeks after they are prepared versus several hours, especially if they are refrigerated. I would much rather consume excellent chocolate made a few days ago then mediocre chocolate prepared more recently.

                Also, on the mail order front I cannot say enough good things about Socola Chocolates. Formerly from Cambridge, Massachusetts these sisters have moved to San Francisco and operate a small mail-order chocolate company with some of the very best truffles I've ever tasted: http://www.socolachocolates.com/

                On the home front, I must say that I like neither Burdicks nor Serendipity for chocolate truffles. I enjoy Burdicks for the coffee, cookies and atmosphere, but I find their chocolates uninspired. I like the original location in New Hampshire for well-prepared rustic French food. Serendipity has amusing molds and might make a nice gift, but the chocolate itself is second-rate at best.

                The most interesting selection of high quality boxed chocolate I've run across is in the little gourmet store in the Copley Westin downtown. They often have a few varieties on sale, but I would particularly recommend the Sonoma Valley wine grape chocolates, and the pink peppercorn chocolates (reminiscent of a special holiday flavor from Richart actually).

                1. re: lipoff

                  On the mail order side of things, I think Nirvana Chocolates (which is based in Wellesley), also sources only excellent chocolate directly from Belgium, stores it properly and sends out while still fresh. http://www.nirvanachocolates.com/

                  1. re: lipoff

                    How would you rank these chocolates to Teuscher Trulffes? These are the best chocolates I've ever had and it's hard to beat those Champagne Truffles.

                2. Serenade in Brookline Village has much better chocolates than Burdick's. I ended up throwing out a box of Burdick's salted caramels because they were so mediocre.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                    I still dream about the Serendipity passion fruit and white chocolate truffle I had years ago - one of the best flavor combinations ever. Re: Taza, Russo's sells it cheaper than most places, including the factory.

                    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                      For the record, the chocolatier in Brookline Village is SERENADE, not Serendipity.

                      1. re: Allstonian

                        That's right, my bad - worse, because I actually took a class there. Serendipity was that place known for it's chocolate drinks, and not much else, in Quincy Market.

                      2. I would say that there is really no top shelf chocolate in Boston. The stores we have here carry either fairly corporate, factory based products or amateur productions. Byrne and Carlson in Kittey, ME is the best in the region. Garrison confections in Providence, RI does only mail order most of the year but they are excellent as well.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: fishmanator

                          I'm no expert but don't think Richart falls into your descriptions above. Could still call it a boutique with only about a dozen stores worlwide. Have not had the others you mention so can't compare to them, but it is in a different class from places like Godiva and the other "luxury" brands that are really factories.

                          1. re: Zatan

                            I used to work in chocolate. Richart is much better than the others you mention but they still are more of a vendor rather than a on-site fabricator. They could be compared to Maison du Chocolate.

                            It is like comparing TGI Fridays to PF Changs. A difference of price category, not idea.

                            Check out the places I mentioned. You will be more than impressed.

                            1. re: fishmanator

                              There was a small shop in the hotel Commonwealth, the woman there made all the chocolates by hand herself. I think they were excellent, but she is gone, no idea if she is still in the area....

                              Will check the others if I can To be honest (between you and me) I am not actually a chocolate lover, just will taste one every now and then as I consider it to be my duty, Like them, sure, crave them, never.

                              1. re: Zatan

                                How do you know so much about the Boston food scene? I am jealous of your knowledge bank.

                                On that cheese shop post from awhile ago, have you ever tried rubiners out in great barrington? I have heard they have nice chocolate as well from a small place in brooklyn.

                                1. re: Zatan

                                  If that was Temper Chocolates, the woman sourced those chocolates from a variety of places, rather than make them herself.

                                  1. re: limster

                                    Wow, just checked back. Thanks for all the great ideas. I am looking forward to a weekend of chocolate tasting...

                                    1. re: limster

                                      Temper is right...and I was misinformed or misunderstood. I could have sworn she told me she bought the raw materials and made (mayb e some of them?) herslef. Oh well, a moot point now I guess.

                                      1. re: Zatan

                                        They did make their own hot chocolate, maybe that's what you were thinking of?

                              2. re: fishmanator

                                "The stores we have here carry either fairly corporate, factory based products or amateur productions." This is the opposite of what you find at Beacon Hill Chocolates.

                                1. re: fishmanator

                                  Bryne and Carlson is my favorite too. You can order them by mail. They may also have a second store in Portsmouth, NH.

                                2. Dang, I was going to recommend La Tene but apparently he's shut down (it was a one-man operation).

                                  1. I've had some really delicious chocolates from Aroa Fine Chocolates in the South End recently. They're on Washington Street about a block west of Flour Bakery (towards Mass. Ave.) Good range of flavors - a bit more unusual than Burdick's, not as out-there as La Tene was. Subtle flavorings, excellent texture. I believe they use El Rey as their base chocolate. Very eager, friendly staff - I'm not clear on the full story, but while the store has existed for some time, I think the current owners are fairly new and have revamped the operation within the last 6 months or so. They also have some delicious pates de fruits, aka fruit jellies. Definitely worth a visit.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: MichaelB

                                      Second Aroa -- in fact it was MichaelB who first dragged me in there. I'm not a choco-fan but the olive oil and chile chocs are very nice.

                                      1. re: MichaelB

                                        The mention of "out-there" chocolates reminds me that it's time to start begging my home-chocolatier friend to throw another massive party. Curry truffles, kaffir truffles....

                                      2. Without hesitation, to find very best chocolates from artisan and top quality chocolatiers in the world, would definitely recommend going to Formaggio's Kitchen to stock up on connoisseur-level treats from Amadei, Romanengo, etc. Burdick's pales in comparison to the what is offered FK.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: sushifest

                                          Also, if you are one-stop shopping, Formaggio Kitchen stocks some Burdick products.