Posted: Nov 12 2012
As a Nor' Eastah descends on Boston, bringing with it a dusting of snow, I am struck by how authentic New England feels. Being from California, I'm new to this quaint New England concept: weather. In the chill and the rain and the snow, Bostonians keep a steady march forward. The Chocolate Industry in Boston is bigger than you might assume, and there are some very iconic chocolates that exemplify the Capital of New England, despite the intrusion of weather.
Taza Hot Chocolate
We've talked some about Taza before, and its unique stone ground texture. This South American style chocolate from Sommerville, has made a big splash in Boston. While you can buy Taza chocolate nationwide, in Boston there are a wide variety of bakeries and cafes that use Taza in their desserts. When the cold weather hits, there's nothing quite like a professionally made Taza Hot Cocoa. The way a stone ground chocolate melts into a decadent drinking cocoa makes for an incredibly smooth winter sensation.
By stone grinding the chocolate, more of the cacao flavor is preserved, and presents a fuller flavor in the drink. The potency of hot chocolate made with Taza has an intensity beyond most processed hot chocolates. You can find proof of Taza's quality in the number of Bostonians that sip it from a dozen different cafes.
Harbor Sweets Sweet Sloops
Even this late in the season, I can see sailboats on the Charles River from my apartment window. Sailing has a long tradition in Boston harbor, being the nation's oldest port city. When chocolatiers from this New England company were dipping triangular pieces of toffee in chocolate, they must have had that history in mind, and thus Sweet Sloops were born. A Sweet Sloop is a white chocolate covered almond butter toffee that is then dipped in a creamy milk chocolate and pecans.
A crisp sweetness explodes with each crunch of these bite sized sloops. Though I'm not a fan of white chocolate, as a rule, it is well balanced with the toffee, a light touch of cream upon the surface. The stronger flavors of the milk chocolate and pecans give the sweetness something to play off of; the nutty flavor of the pecans, in particular, is well accented and powerful. A box of Sweet Sloops, a scarf, and a park bench make for an excellent day on banks of the Charles.
Harvest Sweets Chocolate Covered Cranberries
Harvest Sweets is based out of Salem, and is known for a wide variety of chocolate covered fruit bonbons, the most popular of which is their Chocolate covered cranberries. Cranberries have a long history in Boston, with a majority of U.S. cranberry growers in Massachusetts. They offer cranberries in Milk, Dark, and Yogurt covered varieties. I'm partial to the dark chocolate covered cranberries, myself. The tinge of bitterness is an important cap on the tartness of the cranberry flavor. The fruity sweetness pops with the first bite and settles into a subtle tone alongside the chocolate. The berry itself is rather tender, and the meat and skin don't distract from the smooth texture of the bonbon.
From Cocoa to Cranberries, Boston is a fantastic place to enjoy chocolate. Alongside the sights and between Red Sox games, Bostonians make room for sweets. So don't be scared off by the weather or the cold, embrace it with a pile of chocolate nearby.