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Sep 14, 2010 06:40 AM

Gourmet Chocolate Bar Shop?

Hi everyone,

I just moved into the Boston area, and I'm looking for a gourmet chocolate shop. Any suggestions?

I live in Harvard Square, so I've already checked out Cardullo's. Unfortunately, Cardullo's chocolates tend to be old, with many way past the expiration date, and they tend to be overpriced. They also don't have some of my favorite brands (e.g. Amedei, Grenada Chocolate Co., a large range of Cluizel).

Any suggestions?

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  1. Best chocolate bar selection in your neck of the woods is Formaggio, on Huron Ave. They have quite the array...I tend to buy one level lower, at the Whole Foods at Fresh Pond; Theo, Vosges and that ilk...

    6 Replies
    1. re: galleygirl

      Second Formaggio. My mom has to stop by when she visits for her fix. They give samples of some of the bars and are good at making suggestions.

      Another place to look is Burdick's on Brattle. They sell bars of their chocolate.

      Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

      1. re: viperlush

        Ya, I've had Burdick's before. It's to this day my favorite American chocolatier (and that after having reviewed the heavy hitters in New York).

        I've never had the bars, though. Are they comparable to the bon bons?

        Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

        1. re: The Food Buster

          Don't know, never had them. I would assume that they are as good. I usually stick to their baked goods and my mother likes their caramels.

          Another brand of chocolate that I have seen around town and on Chowhound is Taza Chocolate. They are a local Mexican-style chocolate company. I'm sure that there are those here on Chowhound that know more about it.

          1. re: The Food Buster

            I think the bars are better than the bon bons, actually. You should definitely check them out.

          2. re: viperlush

            We've gotten some bars at Formaggio that were quite old; I've actually had better luck at Cardullo's (although I've never seen Amedei at Cardullo's). Now we mostly order online from Chocosphere.

            1. re: nonaggie

              I second Chocosphere. It's probably the best place for a large selection. I just had a bad experience with them, where they delivered my dad some broken bars. Plus, shipping's a pain.

        2. just out of curiosity...where did you move from where you were able to buy Amadei?

          2 Replies
          1. re: yanz

            Well, I lived in Germany for a while, where I had my first exposure. When I went back to LA (my hometown), I had to order them off Amazon, and the quality wasn't great (came a bit melted, etc.), so I decided not to do that again.

            Then I headed to DC after the summer and discovered the single best chocolate shop I've ever run into in America: Biagio's. It's based on the European, i.e. German, model of chocolate shops, so it packs basically every single one of the big-name brands, and it focuses exclusively on chocolate.

            1. re: The Food Buster

              fascinating. Thank you for the tip!

          2. i go to fastachi on mt.auburn for my nuts and fruit gels - i believe they make their chocolates. I haven't tried them but the quality of their other products make me hopeful about the chocolates. You might also explore some of the Russian markets: Bazaar and Basa come to mind. The Russians like their chocolate and the stores seem to carry some variety at reasonable prices.

            1. I don't recall specific brands, but my beloved Wine and Cheese Cask has a decent selection for a neighborhood store... especially considering that you can also pick up booze and cheese.

              Wine and Cheese Cask
              407 Washington St, Somerville, MA

              1. Certainly I second Formaggio. And I would return to Cardullo's from time to time, although I agree with you that the quality and selection can be off, but sometimes they have exactly what I'm looking for.

                One other suggestion is the often over-looked Gourmet Boutique in the Copley Westin hotel. I've seen Amedei there before, but not often. They certainly have Cluizel, Lubeck, and others. It is not a complete store, but I've found some surprisingly delicious chocolate there, and have been motivated to try new things when they appear in their "bargain" section.

                On another note, you might also enjoy going to some of the Russian markets around here, particularly the Waban Market in Newton or Berezka in Allston, to check out their large selection of Russian dark chocolates.

                5 Replies
                1. re: lipoff

                  By Lubeck do you mean Niederegger chocolate-covered marzipan? I'm always looking for places I can get that other than Cardullo's, whose supply is unreliable and hideously overpriced.

                  1. re: Allstonian

                    That is exactly what I mean. I haven't directly compared the prices at Cardullo's and the Gourmet Boutique, but Gourmet Boutique is not cheap in general either. However, they regularly discount some chocolate, and that has led me to try some (such as these truffles with different California wine grapes inside) that I honestly would not have tried otherwise, but turned out to be fantastic.

                  2. re: lipoff

                    thanks for the tip on the Gourmet Boutique. I pop in there now and then because I know the owners, but have never really conducted serious chocolate searches. Will have to change that.

                    1. re: lipoff

                      I'm working on a bar of Chauo's "Spicy Maya" that I picked up at Gourmet Boutique. The name is so generic I can never remember it. I was told Spicy Maya is Chauo's "signature" bar. I picked up a Welsh Grey Sea Salt and Butter Toffee bar by ChocolateModerne as well.

                      Both are great chocolates with subtle incorporations of their added ingredients. I usually don't go for this kind of stuff, but I like them, although it will take me weeks to finish. I'm just not a big sweets guy.

                      Anyway, I was sort of surprised at the inventory, and although it looks like a touristy kind of place, the girl there knew her stuff and I'm happy with my selections.

                      1. re: lipoff

                        Both were in the 7 dollar range if that helps.