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Aug 9, 2013 01:17 AM

Burdick Chocolates: Only Hedge Fund Managers Need Apply

Wow. Really Wow. I was long overdue for a recon at Burdick's, so I reviewed their website descriptions and stopped by the Harv Sq store today for a sampling of chocolates.
I tasted 9 varieties of chocolates. All of them were inarguably high quality and well made, with clean and delicate eye appeal. Mouthfeel was what it should be - luxuriant and silky creamy, and their dark chocolate flavor profile is certainly unique to them. The problem I had with Burdick years ago, that flavors were often way too subtle/ non existent, was ameliorated this time. I found particularly successful flavors in the Orange, Pistachio, Sesame, Hazelnut and Cardamom varieties.

Given all that, I am unlikely to return. Very simple reason>> It's the cost. As an example, picture this:
--Take 2 quarters sandwiched together. Cover them with chocolate.Do that a second time; now put the 2 pieces in a paper cup. Now hand the nice counter man $2.
--Remove the last joint of your middle finger, cover that with chocolate and put it in a paper cup. And hand the nice man another $2.

I mean, REAlly, who keeps these people in business? ( I guess it's the same people who are loyal regulars of Oishi Boston and OYa and Menton and Grill 23.) And as bad as their pricing was, I found their business ethics equally shocking. Of the 9 varieties I tried, Three were misrepresented. Nowhere on the online shopping page did it explain this, but when you buy a Cardamom Caramel, what you receive is a thin Cardamom Caramel(like 2 quarters...) on top of a separate thin Vanilla Caramel. And when you buy a Hazelnut, what you receive is a Hazelnut chocolate on top of a Pave (non hazelnut) chocolate. Same with the Pistachio and others. well phooey.

So, if you or your mom is a hedge fund manager, sure, go for it. I mean, you might as well have something wonderful to relish on your Maui mountaintop............

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  1. I agree with you that it's very expensive, but is it that different than other high-end chocolates? $1.50-2.50 per piece seems pretty common.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Pia

      Agreed, not sure the price criticism makes sense. I don't think most people buy gourmet chocolates piece by piece looking to get full -- seems like the implicit comparison here is to the king-size Snickers you could get for $1.50. $2 for a tasty bite doesn't seem that crazy to me, though the OP mostly seems to think they're not super tasty.

      Things like the mice and penguins are expensive because you're paying for (what some people see as) little bits of hand-crafted art that happen to taste good.

      And to me the Burdick hot chocolates ($2-5 depending on size) are actually a great value compared to, say, Starbucks. Fewer ounces of beverage, but much higher quality and enjoyment. At the Harvard Square location at least, you'll see plenty of students in groups buying hot chocolate and sharing pieces of cake, and keeping Burdick's in business...

    2. I agree completely. Except for one thing.....I don't really find their chocolates all that wonderful. I WANT to like them, when I've forked over that much money! But I find them cloyingly sweet with little flavor profile. Haven't tried them for a couple of years, though, so maybe they've improved?

      8 Replies
      1. re: Science Chick

        I'm in the not-a-fan camp as well. To Pia - much of the issue is that Burdick's pieces are both pricy and VERY small.

        For that matter, I'm not a fan of their much-praised hot chocolate, either - to me it's just melted chocolate in a cup, and it's not decadent or delicious, it's gross.

        1. re: Allstonian

          That's true, they are small compared to similar chocolates.
          To OpinionatedChef, next time your ship comes in, try EH Chocolatier -- also local, also pricy, but larger pieces, IMO better tasting, really beautiful, assertive but still harmonious flavors, and no false advertising.

          1. re: Pia

            If OC wishes to try some EH chocolate, I believe they have them at Fastachi's in Watertown. EH Chocolatier has a chocolate club which is about to start taking orders in September for their Oct-Mar monthly chocolate offerings.

            1. re: Pia

              Here's the thing: I don't personally care how wee the pieces are at Burdick's, and I might well be willing to pay $60 a pound for a product that I thought was transcendent. But to me, Burdick's is not. The chocolate itself is top-notch, but the flavors don't come through and in the end it's just not a style of candy that moves me.

              I would definitely rather have $60 worth of Serenade's chocolates, for instance, than a pound from Burdick's.

              I'd definitely like to try EH Chocolatier as well - have heard many good things about them.

          2. re: Science Chick

            I also find their chocolates rather festerous and firpantic. But their pain au chocolat and their mocha cafe is killa.

              1. re: Uncle Yabai

                Or as my brother would say (about wine) "obsequious yet flatulent".

                1. re: mtm7654

                  Reminds me of the great Patton Oswalt's "Wines by the Glass", from "Zombie Spaceship Wasteland":


            1. I just purchased an EF caramel pecan at Fastachi , in Watertown, for $2.50, and it was delicious. Their other chocolates are $36. A lb, which worked out to about $1.50 a ( tiny ) piece( approx 2 dimes atop each other) those too were delicious
              . I've seen other chocolatiers in Boston /Cambridge for $32-$45 a lb. .
              I Also paid $12.99 a lb for their delicious " super nut " mix and I would so again.
              I guess it's about taste/quality.

              4 Replies
              1. re: kewpie

                Burdick's chocolates are $60 per pound:

                And yes, it is indeed about taste/quality - some of us feel that Burdick's fails to justify the price based on those criteria.

                1. re: Allstonian

                  Hmmm. Just did some informal research. These are prices for the most basic box of chocolates- no suede sliding gift boxes, just cardboard
                  All off of their own websites
                  EH chocolatiers- 6.8 oz ($46.) x 3= 17.oz=( $155.)approx Lb
                  Beacon hill chocolates approx $2. A piece
                  Burdicks $60. Lb
                  Teuscher $78. Lb
                  Chocolate chocolates and Fastchi (approx $36. Lb) each
                  Taza website unavailable

                  1. re: kewpie

                    Thanks for doing the research. I was going to comment that I paid an inordinate amount for very bland chocolates at Teuscher. Yes, they were pretty, but I wonder why they can't also be delicious. Their signature champagne truffles were pretty good, not great though, and the other chocolates weren't worth eating. Maybe I'm just a low-rent Lindt gal.

                    I haven't had the chocolates at Burdicks, but do like their iced mochas (with dark chocolate). Their chocolate macarons taste only of sugar, and their coconut kugelhopf was dry as a gecho on a sunny rock the one time I had it. So for me they're a one trick pony.

                    1. re: pollystyrene

                      +1 re teuscher.

                      when i was traveling through europe 30 years ago, people in london insisted that when i got to zurich, i absolutely had to try teuscher's champagne truffles. totally underwhelming, and i'm guessing they don't improve with travel.

              2. The original comment has been removed
                1. My wife and I enjoy Burdick's very much (more my wife than I as I'm not a huge fan of chocolates, but I do like them). A plain box is mandatory on Valentine's day (unless I want to sleep on the couch!). Such is the beauty of opinion.