Buying a chocolate tour for two might be the most self interested birthday gift I’ve ever given (there were other gifts though that weren’t, I swear!).
On Saturday, several months after the birthday in question, we waited in front of the statue of John Copley in Copley Square for the tour of chocolate to begin. Our guide quickly checked in the roughly 28 of us, then we were off on a walking tour of the chocolate shops of Back Bay.
First up was Teuscher Chocolates, which is a Swiss company. The store was decorated for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, so it was a very festive atmosphere as our group all crowded into the shop. The Teuscher rep gave a brief history of the company and a story of how their most popular product- the champagne truffle- came to be. Apparently, the current owner of the company was playing in the cellar and broke open a bottle of champagne. Not wanting to waste it, his angry father added the champagne to a batch of truffles and a delicious delicacy was born.
The truffle was delicious- each layer from the chocolate coating, to the ganache, to the interior was progressively more infused with champagne. It’s a good thing these truffles were tasty- they cost $102/lb.
The next stop was Sweet Cupcakes, which was almost across the street. It had a definite old fashioned and sweet feel, from the black and white movie playing to the pink, white and brown wallpaper. A double chocolate mini cupcake was the sample here. It was really good and fresh and tasted just like homemade. I don’t think that’s a bad thing since I love homemade cupcakes, but it wasn’t super fancy or over the top at all.
Next we wandered down Newbury St a little farther to Robin’s Candy. This is quite a candy shop, packed full of all sorts of delights (5 lb whoopie pies, giant gummy snakes, etc). They sell old fashioned candy and the usual candy store mainstays like Jelly Bellys and m&m’s, plus fudge, mochi, and some edible bugs. There were two young children in the group and they loved this stop, since everywhere they turned, there were more delights to looks at. We got six samples here, ranging from jelly beans to fudge to edible bugs.
Feeling a little full, we went just next door to Patisserie on Newbury. This stop won the “best smelling” prize. It smelled delicious, like a combination of fresh baked bread, croissants, and pastries. They also have cheeses, oils, and other French foods. The sample was a Valhrona double chocolate cookie, and it was amazing. It was still slightly warm from the oven, so the chocolate chips were slightly melted and they melded beautifully with the chocolate cookie. I could only eat half, so my companion and I shared one and saved the other to be savored later. We also picked up a loaf of French bread to enjoy with dinner that night. The bread was wonderful, with a crunchy crust and an interior that was full of air and perfectly light.
The final stop of the tour was actually the least impressive one, visually speaking. In the Prudential Center, there is a small stand called Truffles. Their selection is impressive, but it was sort of an odd note to end on after visiting so many great shops. We saved the dark chocolate salted truffles for later since we were too full of sweets to have anything more.
The tour was a great experience and I think it was good value for money (I got the tickets off Groupon). We learned about new chocolate places and got a sense of the history of each individual spot, and left totally stuffed full of delicious, high quality chocolate. Our tour guide was great, but the group was a little large. Online, Great Food Tours says they cap at 20, but there were definitely 28 of us on the tour. Walking on the street together was fine, but the shops got very crowded. Apparently, the same company also does a cupcake tour, but it looks like there is a lot of overlap in terms of places the tours stop.